Waste not, want not.
Americans waste a lot of food, something like 34 million tons a year. For me wasting food just goes counter to how I was raised. Aside from the starving people in such in such a place that my mother always reminded me of as a kid, or the environmental impact of waste, really it comes down to the simple fact that I don’t like to throw money away. Especially when it only takes a little planning and ingenuity to prevent most household food waste.
In fact a good portion of traditional cooking seems that it was intended to do just that, prevent waste. Bread pudding is one such dish that uses up that last bit of bread that is drying out, not to mention that it is quite cheap.
Generally speaking I do not consistently go through a lot of bread (I eat a lot of rice). I occasionally do buy a loaf and of course I often have a few slices from that loaf that start to go stale. These I usually freeze until I have enough for a bread pudding. And sometimes, just sometimes I buy a cheap loaf off the day old rack at the bakery for just such a dish. As for the pudding I prefer savory to sweet. Seems most people I encounter are more familiar with sweet bread puddings than savory bread puddings, but the savory ones make a great light supper. Either way a bread pudding is a good way to use up bread that may otherwise go to waste, they are quick, and all you need are the most basic of ingredients.
- 6 slices of buttered bread (strictly speaking it doesn’t have to be buttered)
- 1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
- salt, pepper
- 1 green onion, diced (optional)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/4 c. milk
- 3-4 slices of bacon or thin slices of ham (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Grease a 6″ x 9″ casserole dish. Layer three slices of buttered bread on the bottom, add the diced green onion, salt and pepper and half the cheese. Add a second layer of buttered bread, salt and pepper, cheese and the slices of bacon or ham.
- Mix together the 3 beaten eggs and the 2 1/4 c. of milk. Pour over the bread. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Place in the 350 F. oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is browned and risen. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 15-20 minutes then serve.