For a while, I’d been craving this dessert I could recall from years ago: bread soaked in sugar syrup. It’s a bit like bread pudding, judging from the bread pudding I had recently. Last month, I decided to take the plunge and make it myself. It seemed easy enough. You bring some sugar water to boil until it becomes a syrup, soak freshly toasted bread in it, and that’s it!
Unfortunately, my theory was way off. For one thing, I wasn’t sure how well-done the toast had to be. After all, making good toast is quite an art. I soaked the bread for too long and it became soggy. But the main surprise was with the sugar. For some reason, I decided to use brown sugar instead of the regular white variety. The end result…tasted a bit funny, to be honest. On the bright side, I think Anu liked it after all, so it wasn’t a complete waste of effort.
Fast-forward to last week: Anu offered to make शाही टुकड़ा (shahi tukda). As some of you may know, that’s also a dessert, also a lot like bread pudding, but with condensed milk. Burnt as I was by my recent experience, I cautiously offered my moral support as she made the syrup. It was at this point that I realized we were out of bread.
There was, of course, a good explanation for this state of affairs. You see, bread has a short shelf life (in our case, kitchen counter life). I’d become a bit too enthusiastic about cleaning for the New Year, and had thrown out the last loaf just the day before. In any case, I ran out to buy some bread.
Trade Joe’s had a long line of people waiting to enter the store. Bummer, but no surprises there. I drove to our regular QFC in Wallingford and was stymied by yet another line! Maybe it had something to do with it being New Year’s Eve and all that. Should I try the corner grocery store in Wallingford? I’d never found anything I needed in there, but maybe today was opposite day? Darn, no luck. Finally, I drove to the Safeway on University Ave, my last hope. The building was gone.
That’s right, the entire building had been razed to the ground for redevelopment. I took this as a sign and returned home empty-handed. No dessert for you!