Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/berry-breakfast-caramel-confectionery-302468/
Photo by Ella Olsson: https://www.pexels.com/photo/dessert-jars-3026801/
Photo by RDNE Stock project: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-mother-feeding-pudding-to-her-daughter-7403031/
Process and Puddings
the enjoyment of puddings, in companionship with others, as a process practice
I think the world might be a better place if we all agreed that, despite our differences, we all enjoy puddings. Kindergarten teachers know that three things bring children together: food, music, and storytelling. Let's go for food and, for purposes of illustration, puddings. Make them as you will. If you are interested in sugar-free pudding without milk, I offer a recipe below.
My point is not that puddings and pudding making illustrate more abstract ideas of process philosophy, which they do. It is also that the experiential side of process philosophy - creativity and feeling, memory and enjoyment - are present in the puddings themselves, which are instances of the many becoming one in the sweetness of the taste. Process philosophy is in the creativity involved in making puddings, the multitude of pudding varieties found worldwide, the sensory experience of tasting puddings, the diverse contexts in which puddings are celebrated during special occasions, the enjoyment of puddings in companionship with others, and the aesthetics of pudding textures, colors, and flavors, all of which illustrate Alfred North Whitehead's concept of "contrasts" and "contrasts of contrasts. Additionally, puddings themselves are processes with undulating textures and their own unique vibrations.
In short, the practice of enjoying food, particularly when it unites people in healthy and communal ways, is a way of practicing process philosophy, even if the practitioners don't know anything about process philosophy. Here, for the philosophically minded, are the principles pudding bring down to earth into into the tongue:
Interconnectedness: Much like process philosophy emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things, the diverse ingredients in puddings harmoniously blend together to form a delightful whole, mirroring the broader interconnectedness of life and existence. Puddings illustrate concrescence: the many becoming one and being increased by one.
Creativity and Transformation: Pudding making involves the creative transformation of raw ingredients into a delectable dessert, mirroring the creative and transformative nature of reality celebrated in process philosophy. Puddings illustrate novelty: the way that openness to fresh possibilities from the future (and perhaps from God) can transform what is given to experience into new wholes.
Mutual Enhancement: Process philosophy advocates for mutual enhancement in relationships, where interactions should enhance the well-being of all parties involved. The act of sharing and enjoying puddings fosters a sense of community and shared pleasure, aligning with this principle. Puddings illustrate the aspirations of process philosophers, that the world can become a community of communities of communities, in which people live together in peace, justice, and joy.
Healthy Relationality: Just as process theologians promote healthy relationality among individuals and communities, the act of preparing and sharing puddings in a positive and communal manner exemplifies healthy relationality.
Temporal Experience: Puddings are not solely about the immediate taste; they also evoke memories of past gatherings and experiences, aligning with process philosophy's focus on experiences evolving over time. Puddings illustrate the profound role that the past plays in the present, consciously and unconsciously. This is part of their cultural significance.
Aesthetics and Sensory Experience: The colors, textures, and flavors of puddings offer a sensory experience that illustrates Whitehead's notion of "contrasts" and "contrasts of contrasts" within the realm of aesthetics, highlighting the beauty inherent in the world around us.
Sticky toffee pudding: Sticky toffee pudding: A traditional British dessert made with moist sponge cake, finely chopped dates, and covered in a sticky toffee sauce. It’s often served warm with vanilla ice cream or custard 1.
Playful Pudding Metaphors
In Whitehead's philosophy, propositions are "lures for feeling." They function in human life to help evoke ways of thinking about and feeling the world. Propositions need not be true or false; they can simply be interesting: that is, evocative of novel sensibilities. Many propositions are linguistic, but some are auditory, visual, tactile, and culinary. Food, too, in this case puddings, can provide food for metaphoric ways of living in the world. I offer ten metaphors, some very corny...but why not? The more general point is that, in process philosophy, the tactile world, including the world of food, is a rich source of creative, metaphoric thinking.
"Her new job was like a warm bowl of pudding on a cold winter's day, providing comfort and contentment."
"Life is often like a pudding – you have to mix all the right ingredients to make it sweet."
"His explanation was as clear as vanilla pudding, making it easy for everyone to understand."
"The project's success was a sweet pudding of collaboration, with everyone contributing their best."
"Their relationship was like a layered pudding, with each experience adding depth and richness."
"Her laughter was like a ripple in a pudding, spreading joy wherever it went."
"The solution to the problem was as smooth as vanilla pudding."
"In the world of business, he was a master at turning challenges into opportunities, like a skilled chef crafting a gourmet pudding."
"The journey of self-discovery is like exploring the layers of a pudding, each one revealing more about oneself."
"Her smile was as comforting as warm butterscotch pudding on a challenging day."
Do Puddings Matter? A BBC Discussion
Are we still a nation of pudding lovers and does pudding still matter? Join Sheila Dillon in her kitchen where she's joined by some of the UK's best pudding makers to share some of the secrets of great pudding, and why they matter to them. Olia Hercules makes a pudding from her childhood in Ukraine, a cheesecake made from the "cheese of all cheeses"; Regula Ysewijn bakes an early version of a Bakewell Pudding using apricot kernels and sweetmeats; Melissa Thompson brings Jamaican nostalgia into her own pudding invention, Guinness Punch Pie; Jeremy Lee cooks his Granny's Steamed Treacle Dumpling and chef Anna Higham who's book "The Last Bite" is a celebration of seasonal fruit puddings, makes a rice pudding with a rhubarb compote. So what it is about pudding that delights people so much? And why don't we eat them as much as we once did? Sheila speaks to food historian, Ivan Day, who has spent a lifetime researching and recreating puddings from the past, to see what he makes of our relationship with them now. Presented by Sheila Dillon
Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding without Milk from Cows
Certainly! Here is a recipe for sugar-free vanilla pudding that requires no milk: Ingredients:
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of almond milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of allulose sweetener (or monk fruit sweetener or erythritol)
In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetener, cornstarch, and salt.
Add it to a small saucepan and gently whisk in the almond milk until combined.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Continue to whisk and let it boil for 1-2 minutes, before reducing it to low heat.
Now, add around half a cup of the mixture into a bowl with the egg yolks and whisk together, until smooth. Add it back into the remaining mixture in the saucepan and continue to let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and gently whisk in the butter and vanilla extract, until smooth.
Finally, pour the vanilla pudding into serving dishes or glass jars, before refrigerating them for at least an hour, to firm up.
This recipe yields 4 servings of sugar-free vanilla pudding. Enjoy!