The other day, I had some pudding for the first time in a while.


Now that I’m an adult, I don’t really eat pudding all that much, but when I was a kid, I ate it a bit. You could buy it in four-packs at the supermarket, and Mom often put one in my lunchbox. Sometimes we would buy pudding mix at the store, and I would make pudding with my Mom and younger sister. There was even a famous pudding brand that had commercials on TV all the time. So pudding, to me, is a bit nostalgic.

However, when I was eating pudding the other day, a few different thoughts crossed my mind. First, it seems to me like the whole concept of pudding is different in Japan and the USA. It’s a little difficult to explain, but it seems to me like pudding has a specific flavor in Japan. It’s a little sweet, and you can taste a bit of the eggs that went in to making it, and then you either put a sweet sauce on top, or that sauce is hiding in the bottom of the pudding container. I think that about describes it.
The pudding we made at home or bought didn’t taste like that. Chocolate, caramel, butterscotch…oh yeah, there was even pistachio flavor. Dad loves pistachios, and in the mix for pistachio pudding there were actually chopped up pistachio nuts in it, so whenever we made pistachio pudding at home, he was pretty happy. Still, if you asked me what flavor I think of when you say “pudding”, chocolate would be the first thing to come to mind.
Also, it seems like there’s a difference in texture between pudding in Japan and in the USA. The pudding I’ve had in Japan seems to be just a little bit firmer than pudding back home. It’s not an unpleasant feeling; it’s just a bit strange. To me, pudding has a very smooth texture.

(To add a little more of an intercultural side to this here: when I was looking up some information on this topic, I remembered that there are many other kinds of pudding out there than just the kind you eat for dessert. There are even meat-based “savory” puddings, but I’ve never had one. I might need to drum up some courage before I took a bite.)

There was one other thing I remembered when I was eating my pudding. Not long after I came to Japan, I was having a meal, although I can’t remember if I was at a friend’s house or at a restaurant. It was a Japanese meal. There was a small ceramic cup with a lid on it, and when I took off the lid, I thought, “Would you look at that! Pudding!” But the cup was warm, actually more hot than warm. Hot pudding, eh? Hmm, they eat hot pudding in Japan. Still, it looked good, so thought I would try it. I scooped some out with the little wooden spoon next to the cup and took a bite…

Huh? Wait a sec, something’s different. This…isn’t sweet. It wasn’t that it was bad, just really different from what I had expected, so I was confused.

And that, my friends, was my first experience with chawanmushi.

(To explain, chawanmushi is a steamed egg custard that has shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, a ginkgo nut, and usually some sort of seasonal vegetable. Sometimes there can even be some fancy ingredients inside. It looks a LOT like pudding. And it IS tasty once you’re aware of what you’re eating, and not expecting pudding.)













Dustin John Kidd(ダスティン  ジョン  キッド)  44歳


島根のこだわりの卵のこと、文化のことなどを島根県立大学短期大学部准教授でもあるDustin John Kidd(ダスティン  ジョン  キッド)さんにコラムを書いていただいています。