I remember feeling excited for Black History Month as a young girl. Sure, my birthday just so happens to be in February but there was something specifically about Black History Month that made me just a little less opposed to waking up and going to school. That ever so slight feeling of excitement only lasted during the month of February, of course. And that's if my English and History teachers were cool enough to creatively integrate Black History Month in their lesson plans.
The documentaries we watched and stories we read were such a welcomed change of pace. I remember getting goosebumps throughout the month. I still get uncontrollable goosebumps to this day when someone inspires me. I recall being especially intrigued by Maya Angelou. While I don't believe her autobiography, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" was ever a required book in high school, I do remember choosing to read her much talked about first autobiography on my own. And I loved it.
I think my fond feelings for Maya Angelou really began when I took the time to read her story. As a side note, I was never much of a reader. Funny how someone who loves to write almost always detested reading a full-length book. I also enjoyed her poems and am confident that she's the reason I got into poetry for a short period of time. As I grew older, I began to relate to some of her quotes as well. There are two I loved in particular...
"I've learned that people will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel" and...
"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be"
So simply put, and yet, such huge life lessons that I'll forever hold close to my heart. She was one of the most (if not the most) influential females of our time. A worldly scholar and master of many arts, she was a renaissance woman whose work shall forever be celebrated.
I have to be completely honest. Although I knew that Maya Angelou really enjoyed cooking, I didn't know that she had published not one, but two cookbooks. I've already ordered one as I'm certain her comfort food recipes will shine, as did every other accomplishment in her life. However, I was able to score her bread pudding recipe online last week. So just a couple days after her passing, I made it.
I'm a bread pudding fanatic. One who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, bread pudding is possibly my favorite sweet ending. But I don't believe I did Maya justice with this recipe. I chose to half the recipe which may have put just the slightest damper on the otherwise insanely delectable dessert. Next time, I know better. With golden raisins and a cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and milk "glaze" it's a classic recipe that's so incredibly easy to devour.
Maya Angelou's Bread Pudding
(from Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou)
1 loaf stale sliced white bread
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease with butter a 3 qt casserole dish. Butter both sides of bread slices, place on tin foil. and put in oven. Toast slices on both sides.
2) Place raisins in bowl of hot water to plump. Cover, soak for 20 mins, and drain.
3) Combine sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well.
4) Break up toasted bread, and put in casserole dish. Add drained raisins. Pour egg mixture over bread, and stir.
5) Bake 40 mins. Serve hot or cold.