Somehow sports columnist Joan Ryan seems to have captured the quintessential George Allen in her recent anecdote describing his almost inordinate passion for rice pudding with raisins.
But the spartnish football coach is not alone in his devotion to this basically mundane dessert that seems far too rare at home and in restaurants. Many of us who do not care about football can get positively pumped up about the prospect of eating - or even discussing - the pudding whose basic ingredients are rice, milk and raisins.
It should be recognized that Coach Allen, who frequently frustates interviewers by refusing to make positive, specific statements about his team and its games, nonetheless was willing to be counted among those who consider the raisin an essential ingredient of any rice pudding deserving the name.
Frankly, it has been discovered that some otherwise totally devoted rice pudding aficionados could care less about the raisin content.
Yet there is something more to be said about rice pudding: There just isn't enough of it coming my way.
If you are in the same predicament, this piece is merely to strike a blow - not to offer any favorite recipe - for more rice pudding at home and on commercial feeding menus. If McDonald's can do so well with a hamburger and Pizza Hut with that specially product, there must be some American able to come up with a good dish of rice pudding and do for it, what Mrs. Smith did for apple pie.
No bland, cookie-cutter type of pudding is being advocated. It must be a delicate balance of creamy custard with the right amount of rice and sprinkling of raisins - one to each bite is about perfect.
At home, it's the culinary poverty level to get a good rice pudding only on one's birthday. I insist that a successful, weight-shedding diet can be enhanced by the reward prospect of getting a dish of rice pudding every time two or three pounds are shed.
Restaurants should consider those of us who are being deprived of rice pudding at home. Years ago the Capital Hilton (then Statler) served one of the town's finest rice puddings and the memory of that dish perslists. Now there's the Monocle, which permits itself to "run out" of rice pudding.
SO let's heed George Allen and cater to America's unrequited appetite for rice pudding with raisins. Or even without. Once we win this battle, rhubarb pie will be rallied to action.