I used to have a lot of sympathy, now I just have a lot less change…
A good friend once told me this in a conversation about New York City panhandlers. It seems that every city street houses one, some of them screaming, others whispering, some of them smiling, and others frowning. From the punk rock squatter kids on the lower east side you may hear a line such as, “spare change for a decadent life style,” or from a stumbling hobo in Time Square, as he sips his Old English from a plastic champagne glass, you may receive the very crude request for, “ f***ing change!”
I used to give almost all of them whatever change I had in my pocket, fully aware that only a fraction would be putting my contribution toward a meal. As time has gone by and my change pot has run dry, I have devised a new way of dealing with panhandlers, I don’t give them money; instead I offer whatever food I have handy. In the past I have donated restaurant leftovers, half of a lunchtime sandwich, a bunch of bananas from my grocery bag, and even once a tin of Christmas cookies I was bringing to work.
It is a plan that, for the most part, works well, except for the times that I don’t have food to offer. This happens to be case with my local panhandler. Every night I exit the train and am greeted by his warm smile and modest request, “Whatever you can spare would be greatly appreciated.” At night I rarely have food with me and so I smile, shake my head, and shrug my shoulders to indicate that I have no change. “ Have a good night,” he says to me in response. Do I feel guilty? Sure I do, and that is why last night, when a coworker was about to throw out the leftover bread from brunch, I stopped him. Tonight I would bring him chocolate bread from Amy’s bread! Unfortunately, when I got off the train, he was nowhere to be found.
What was I going to do with all of this chocolate bread?
Bread Pudding with a Chocolate Twist
5 pieces – Day old Amy’s Chocolate Bread Twists
2 tbsp - melted butter
4 – eggs beaten
2 cups – milk
3/4 cup - sugar
1tsp – Vanilla
sprinkle of light brown sugar and cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Break bread up into small pieces and fill one 8inch or two 4inch cake pans.
- Drizzle bread with melted butter.
- Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla and pour over bread.
- Let bread sit for a few them push down on bread with a fork in order to soak up egg mixture.
- Sprinkle with light brown sugar and cinnamon then place in oven for 45 min, or until the center of the pudding springs back to touch.