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Bread Pudding in honor of Pauli Murray*

Friday, December 28th, 2007
copyright 9/19/1999 by Marceline Donaldson

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 can crushed pinneapple
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded coconut (or to taste)
1/2 stick butter (or 4 ounces)
assorted stale breads – rolls, brioche, french, etc.
All ingredients should be organic, especially the eggs and cream.
Cut or tear the bread into squares – all kind of bread, as long as it is made of organic ingredients.  Cut enough bread to fill the GLASS dish in which you will bake and serve this dish.  If you have an oven-proof glass dish which fits into a silver holder, that is a very attractive way to bring this dish to the table.
Add baking power and salt to the bread and mix thoroughly.
Beat the eggs in a heavy mixer like a Kitchen Aid until they are light and fluffy.  This will take about 7-8 minutes.
Add the sugar and continue to beat until the sugar is incorporated into the eggs and the entire mixture becomes even lighter and fluffier.
Add the crushed pineapple and juice to the egg mixture along with the coconut.  Stir until all ingredients are mixed together and pour over the bread.  Mix bread and milk mixture until you like the way the dish looks.  Slice the stick of butter and push the slices into the dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
You have to think when using our recipes.  They assume a human is preparing them not an automated computer.  Any of the ingredients can be increased or decreased according to your taste.  The length of time you bake depends on how you like the final dish – dry, still a little custardy or inbetween!  The amount of sugar depends on your sweet tooth or lack thereof!  The amount of butter depends on whether you are from the north or south.  I personally would use at least a stick of butter – organic so it would be minus growth hormones and other bad things and I could enjoy the dish without worrying about all of the medical horror stories.
*This dish was created in 1982 when Pauli Murray came to our home on the seminary campus for lunch.  She was at Episcopal Divinity School to meet and talk with students.  My husband and I had several people to lunch to have some private time with Pauli.  The star attraction at the luncheon turned out to be this bread pudding.  This was the first recipe she’d had created in her honor and she said it was very special.
I met Pauli Murray – Attorney, Law Professor at Brandeis University, Episcopal Priest – for the first time, of which I am conscious, at a weekend conference for 100 Black Women Leaders in December, 1971 in Chicago, Ill.  It was an amazing time – good learning, stressful, nurturing and meeting people I had read about or whose works I had read.  On the plane home, I read Pauli’s book on her family history and couldn’t put it down until I finished, so having her to lunch on our second meeting was special.
I was astounded by how she looked!  When I saw her in Chicago she looked very grandmotherly – not fat, but not thin either.  She was dressed in a suit (with skirt), comfortable pumps, looking the way I was accustomed to seeing professional Black Women look.  Her hair was grey and black and curly – almost, but not quite shoulder length.
When she came to Cambridge she had on a pant suit which was larger than she was and which fit her rather poorly as she had lost lots of weight.  She had on flat shoes and very short, closely cropped hair.  I thought it was her lifestyle change which caused her new look.  During those intervening years she had gone from Attorney to Episcopal Priest and had publicly talked about her sexual orientation.
I didn’t realize until several years later that her new look was due to cancer.  I remarked about how she had changed since I last saw her, – but she said nothing as to why she had adopted this new look or that she didn’t have a choice in this new look.
Before she came to EDS and joined us for lunch, I learned that my grandfather’s Church tried to hire The Rev. Pauli Murray as their new priest and that she wanted the job.  It would have been a great fit, but the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese – which included St. Luke’s – was adamant that he would not allow a woman priest in his Diocese.
In spite of the Congregations’ wishes, Pauli was not called to be the priest at St. Luke’s in New Orleans, LA.  It was sad, because St. Luke’s was the loser.
What did the Bishop gain by taking such a position against The Rev. Pauli Murray?  Did his ministry increase or diminish with this decision?  And what were his hidden sins that he was so threatened by such a woman?  Was this stance taken out of the Bishop’s professed Christianity or out of his need to feel superior to Women?  Was the Bishop violating his office by committing such a sin?  Did this need to maintain his and his groups’ superiority cost him eternity?
This was the same Bishop who tried to keep the two million dollars my grandfather worked hard to get to endow St. Luke’s, an African-American Church.  My grandfather wanted to know that St. Luke’s was endowed before he died.  This was the Church his father built under very stressful conditions.  His father was an Episcopal priest, who received his Doctorate in 1906 and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1911.  The money was sent to the Diocese for St. Luke’s.  The Bishop tried to keep it for other uses – none for the African-American community, but finally had to release the money to St. Luke’s after my grandfather and some of St. Luke’s parisioners worked hard to force that to happen.  With it the congregation was able to move to a new location and engage a social worker to work with the young people of the Church, among other things.
All of the above is contained in this recipe for “Bread Pudding In Honor of Pauli Murray.”
The luncheon brought up all of that old history.  Food is so much a part of who we are and recipe’s contain many of our memories, our culture and our history.
Everytime I make this pudding, I think of this history and usually also share the history with whoever is eating the pudding!  Some people are grateful for hearing this history and enjoy the pudding, some people enjoy the pudding and are quiet, some people are just quiet.
I also always pray for The Rev. Pauli Murray as I cut up the bread and mix the ingredients.  Her life took her on so many journeys.   As I put those Prayers into this bread pudding what happens to them?  Are they spread around the world and multiply and affect our lives?  Do they affect the lives of those who eat the pudding?  Or is it just bread pudding, whose origin will be lost when I die?
This recipe is the one most often requested by bed and breakfast guests.

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