We harvested a bumper crop of buns last week, thanks to a miscalculation of party supplies.
They rose in an intimidating mass following a neighborhood celebration of our friend Doug’s 92nd birthday.
I eyed them skeptically as I tidied the kitchen following the successful cookout.
“What just happened?” I asked. “I ordered just enough buns for the hamburgers and hot dogs. We have seven leftover hamburgers and 43 leftover buns!”
In a carb-averse world, sometimes you have to get creative.
So, I made toast, bread pudding and, with my last gasp of bread creativity, I ground the last two dozen or so into bread crumbs, which I froze for later use with fried chicken.
Certain challenges make summer entertaining ripe for private triumphs — the exact right ratio of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers; a bowl of dip with neither excess nor naked crudités; enough ice for exterior chilling of cans and interior clinking in cups; the proper pairing of cheese to cracker and, obviously, the right proportion of bun to meat.
From the shadow of my bun mound rose a recipe I’m happy to share should you find yourself similarly bun-laden.
We hate to see a good bun go to waste.
6 good sized hamburger buns
three cups of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups frozen berries
Tear buns into small pieces and place them in a greased 13x9x2 pan. Toast in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour milk into a large bowl and add the eggs. Beat until all the eggs are incorporated. Add sugar and vanilla.
Remove bread from the oven and increase oven temperature to 350.
Sprinkle frozen berries over the buns.
Pour custard mixture over buns and berries. Let soak for 15 minutes.
Bake 45 minutes or so, until set.
First, the party. These are our friends Doug and Janet. They never age, but we like to celebrate their birthdays anyway. I’m posting his toast at the end of this blog because it was hilarious.
These are the youngest members of the neighborhood, getting to know each other. Happily, they’ll be joined by some even younger members later this summer. You might say some of our guests arrived with buns in the oven. Woo hoo!
They’re a sweet bunch, but not the best bun eaters we’ve ever hosted.
That’s our little friend Owen in the background. He pretty much stole the show.
But, what are you going to do with a big bunch of buns? This is the pile AFTER I made the bun pudding.
This is what it looks like after you pour the milk mixture on.
This is the done deal. Delicious!
Please enjoy our nonagenarian friend’s sentimental toast at his 92nd birthday party…