Recipe for Brooklyn Manhole Cover Rice Pudding Courtesy of the 1950s
Brooklyn Manhole Cover Rice Pudding
Actual Brooklyn Manhole Cover
This recipe originated, as far as I know, with my father's parents in Brooklyn, NY. My grandmother loved to cook comfort food and cheer for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- 2 cups rice, uncooked
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup raisins
- Prepare rice. Dad likes River Rice brand or Uncle Ben’s. Don’t use “instant." He recommends the kind you cook for 10 or 20 minutes. Start with two cups of uncooked rice; boil it according to directions on package.
- In large mixing bowl, mix rest of ingredients. Add cooked rice and blend.
- Dad likes a Pyrex baking dish usually rectangular, but round is OK. Place a tablespoon of cooking oil such as corn oil in the baking dish. (I use cooking spray.) Move it around so oil coats the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Add rice mixture.
- Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Family, Sports, and Rice Pudding - A Romantic Comedy
One day, when I was a kid, I asked my dad why his hair was grey. “Dem Bums,” he answered solemnly. Another time, I asked him why he was balding. “Dem Bums,” he lamented again, shaking his head. It didn’t take long for this savvy kid to add 3 and 1 together and come up with craps. I realized my pop blamed all his follicular woes on the Brooklyn Dodgers packing up and relocating to Los Angeles.
NY baseball had been unkind to our family in other ways as well. My grandfather (of sparse grey hair) was walking down the street with a Brownie camera hanging around his neck when he ran into… You’re not going to believe this, I guarantee. But it’s true. Babe Ruth, Yankee extraordinaire! He was so shocked to see the Sultan of Swat in the flesh; he forgot to take a snap.
After all the disappointment, my family packed up and moved to a place with no pro baseball team. To Newport News, Virginia. Jeff Davis country. We were sort of reverse Beverly Hillbillies. Instead of stacks of furniture on a pickup truck, we carried grandma's recipes in our Ford Galaxy 500.There was, however, the local basketball team that became my dad's passion, the Virginia Squires. I remember my dad lamenting, “Dem Squires. Dem Squires.” But that’s a bit of nostalgia for another day.
In Newport News, my father volunteered his time with various charities as well as the Chamber of Commerce and the local synagogue. One time, the temple organized a bake sale, and he contributed one of our family’s prized creations, Brooklyn Manhole Cover Rice Pudding. I was probably 9 years old at the time.
Blessed Bake Sale!
As you can see from the pictures above, Brooklyn Manhole Cover is an apt name for this dessert. It's grey (metal–like) and speckled with raisins that could be interpreted as rust spots on a manhole cover… if you’re given to flights of fancy. It’s also heavy like a manhole cover. I mean it’s probably at least a million calories a slice and if I weighed it, I bet it’d tip the scales at 3 or 4 lbs. Anyhoo, dad sliced the pudding into individual squares, wrapped them in cellophane, appended price stickers, dropped ‘em off at the bake sale, and forgot about ‘em.
Flash forward 2 years.
Damn Bake Sale!
For some reason I can’t remember now, I’m in the temple’s kitchen. I think I was helping to make a Passover dish. I open the freezer and what do I see? It’s filled with pieces of dad's Brooklyn Manhole Cover. Not one piece had sold at the bake sale. Looking at it objectively, I wondered aloud, "Are gray, blobby, metallic-looking slabs of rice flecked with raisins (rust) unappetizing? Is it a meal (like some faces) only our family could love?" I took the pieces home dreading what dad would make of the discovery. To my surprise, he couldn’t have been more delighted. He let it thaw, and all four of us (mother and brother were present) feasted on 2 year old rice pudding after our dinner of Roast Pot (Pot Roast) a recipe for another day.
So, here ‘tis. The old family recipe.