Dulce de Leche

Whew.  What a week and then some.  As I sit here in my ‘office’, catching a much needed breath, just for 2 seconds, before I go off again, I literally force myself to, as Max so succinctly put it, ‘be still!’.

Be still --- how hard can that be?

Harder than it looks.

With the world, and life, moving so much faster than ever before, filled with so much more (more things to do, see, say, buy, experience, start, finish, eat), it’s become that much more difficult to simply stop and, consciously and wholeheartedly, be still.  But, for the very same reasons, it is that much more important to do it.

So here I am, for just 2 seconds, breathing in and out, listening to the silence that is my city’s sigh on the weekends, savoring a warm latte, writing in this blog.  Scribbling away at the few words I have the time for while my dulce de leche simmers to life on the hob.

Making this is too simple to even venture towards a recipe.  Take a couple of cans of condensed milk**, place them in a sturdy pot that is a good deal taller than your cans.  Fill the pot with enough water to completely submerge the cans by a good 2-3 inches (or more, if the thought of exploding cans makes you nervous).  Place the pot, covered, over low heat for 3 hours, making sure that the water level stays above the tops of the cans at all times.  I place a kettle of hot water beside my pot in case I need to make a top up. When the 3 hours are up, turn off the heat but leave the covered pot, and the submerged cans within, undisturbed until the water has completely cooled down.  Once cool, take your cans, dry them off, and enjoy the uncomplicated divinity called dulce de leche.

There are other ways to make dulce de leche but this is the way my great-grandmother (and my grandmother, and my father) made it, so this is the way I make it too.  There is something so special, so comforting and calming, about performing a task that has been likewise performed by your forebears.  It makes me feel connected, part of a greater whole.  It makes me feel, despite the transient nature of so many things nowadays, that there is goodness that endures.  And, despite the worries that come with being an adult, when I place a spoon of that smooth sweetness in my mouth, I am transported to a soft though roughly-upholstered chair, a ratty box of favored toys in front of me, with my great-grandmother lying on her sofa watching tv.  Companionable silence, no thought but to what was in front of us, content.

In these precious few moments of ‘being still’, stolen from a perpetually and oft-too-fast spinning wheel of life, I like to think of that.

I wish you've all had, or are having, a wonderful weekend…and a couple of quiet moments to ‘be still’! :)

**It must be shared that I used both Milkmaid and Carnation condensed milks, and the can of Carnation was still liquid while the Milkmaid was perfect (and it's what you see pictured here).  Milkmaid is what my father and grandmother use, and what my father strictly counseled me to use.  Apparently with good reason.