Dana Slatkin

Healthy Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pudding with Gingersnap Crumble

Pumpkin PuddingOnce you become a mother, you never think of cooking the same way again. It becomes so much more than a personal endeavor. Cooking can be a loving act of nourishing, or a familial ritual of sharing. And, as I discovered recently, it can be the perfect side dish to sympathy.

A few nights ago, our 13-year-old daughter — a beautiful, blossoming yet hormone-plagued gamine — had an epic meltdown. It began as a completely normal spasm of anxiety over a heavy homework load, but by 11 pm it had escalated into explosive convulsions of exasperation.

The more I hopelessly tried to calm her down, the louder she sobbed, until finally I just stopped talking, stroking her hair like my mother used to do for me. Eventually, my stressed-out teen tired herself out and fell asleep.

But as I stood stirring pumpkin pudding on the stove the next day, alone in the kitchen but not in my thoughts, I had a moment of regret. Why didn’t I think of it? A mother’s first line of defense when her baby is crying inconsolably, something every parenting book advises — positive distraction. Two cups of tea and a few spoonfuls of this would have done the trick. And it would have been a whole lot more enjoyable.

So that night, even though my daughter had transformed back to her spunky self and was diligently finishing homework, I called her down to the kitchen. I sat her down at the table with a cup of tea and pumpkin pudding. We talked about what had precipitated her panic attack, and how she would approach her emotional surge next time.

It was one of those precious moments of connectedness, reminding me of the restorative power of cooking. And I felt ever so grateful to have a daughter.

Having a Halloween gathering? These dishes have got both the trick and the treat!

Photo credit: Glorious Treats

Disclaimer: This post may contain totally benign and well-intentioned affiliate links. All content is unsponsored, uncensored, and undeniably honest.

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  1. Lizthechef says:

    Great going, Mom, and a terrific recipe…

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