Sunday, April 10, 2011


In my semester of crazy last year I found myself, somehow, teaching 4 classes which managed to span 5 disciplines.  I was social sciences, sociology, politics, anthropology, and archaeology.  The most tricky of these was archaeology, since I have never, ever done an archaeology subject in my life.  I wanted to, when I was in year 4, but I don't think my vague desire as a 10 year old translates in any way to a qualification to teach the subject.  Luckily I was only responsible for leading discussions, and those were based on the readings.  So my questions were more about the human side of things, rather than the technical side, and I managed okay (at least, I think so).

But one thing I do know about archaeology is their interest in layers.  They dig down, little by little, to see what they uncover as they go.  Sometimes they take a bulldozer in to dig a trench, so they can visually see the progression through time.  I still have a vague desire to go on an archaeology dig, but these days my layers are limited to the kitchen.  But they are a lot more delicious, and less dusty, so I'm happy with these for now.

After a pancake breakfast involving fruit sauce, Andy suggested we put the leftover berry sauce to use in some kind of dessert.  I threw around a lot of ideas, but finally settled on these.

From the bottom, which archaeologically represents the earliest era... A layer of coconut tapioca pudding.  This is a combination of seed tapioca (the littlies) and multicoloured tapioca pearls.  A later generation, er, layer, is the berry sauce.  On top of that, some custard, made with Orgran No Egg, sugar and soy milk.  The berry layer appeared again, indicating a cultural resurgence of some kind.  And the most recent layer, on top, was the most unique yet - crumbled up gingernut biscuits.

Like an archaeological dig, I used a combination of excavation methods.  I took each layer on its own.  The custard was yummy, the berry sauce so-so, and the tapioca chewy and delicious (until a few days later, when the bigger pearls were very dry).  I also dug right down in, getting a combination of layers in every bite.  This is where I realised the incongruity of the tapioca layer.  It just didn't fit with the rest of the parfait.  I guess that's why I'm an academic, and not a professional dessert-maker!


Susan said...

It looks very pretty.
Are the tapioca pearls just the dried ones you see at the asian grocery store?

That does indeed sound like a semester of crazy! Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.

Cindy said...

This post cracked me up! :-D

And I can only hope that that semester didn't crack you up - what a workload.

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

It looks delicious! Whenever I try to make tapioca pudding, it comes out just OK.

I love archeology, I took a class in college. Sounds like you had a tough workload last year! Hope it's better now.

Carissa said...

I love tapioca! I need some tapioca pudding now :) Or bubble tea!

Theresa said...

Susan - these pearls were 'instant' ones from the asian grocery. I've gotten the plain white ones before, and they take something like 10 minutes of boiling, and 40 minutes of soaking before they are ready. These coloured ones only take 5 minutes of boiling. But apparently they have to be eaten fresh!

Thanks everyone for your comments. This semester is indeed much better. I'm only teaching two classes, in two disciplines!

Hannah said...

Oh, I thought the bottom layer was chia pudding, when I saw the photo! I'm tempted to contradict you on the incongruity aspect, though, as I think the chewy tapioca balls sound like a wonderful textural contrast to the other layers!

vko said...

I love tapioca balls- sounds & looks delicious despite your protest ;)
That is some crazy workload, do you meditate to keep it all together?