See Mama Cook: The Sweet for the Man Missing His Sweet Tooth

Y’all. My husband doesn’t seem to have a sweet tooth. I’m not sure when it fell out or didn’t grow in right, but his self control around a dessert table astounds me.

Case in point: I just asked him his favorite Thanksgiving dessert, and he literally said, “Hmmm, what’s a normal Thanksgiving dessert? Uh, probably pecan pie.”

For real? I can immediately list off at least five, not including the marshmallow-topped, sweet-potato casserole, which we’re all pretending is a “side” or a “vegetable” and cheer when our children eat a helping.

Olivia’s face when Dada has tapioca pearls that he SHOULD LEARN TO SHARE.

A few months ago, my husband came home with a bag of tapioca pearls after I’d sent him to the grocery store. I know what he was thinking: bubble tea. Occasionally, he’ll stop at a local bubble tea shop for an afternoon treat before coming home. And, yes, “bubble tea” is that weird tea with the big, black pearls in the bottom and the huge straw to inhale said pearls. I think it’s super weird, and I’m not a big fan (unlike our moochy daughter).

However, these grocery-bought pearls were tiny and white. He wasn’t certain how big the pearls would get. I was convinced he’d purchased the wrong product, and now we’d have a bag of Bob’s Red Mill small-pearl tapioca in our pantry for all eternity. Then I noticed a recipe on the back.

Tapioca has never been my first choice of dessert at a restaurant, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I love to cook, and, as a stay-at-home mom, what else do I have to do all day? I kid, I kid…

My husband loves this stuff. It’s a bit sweet, but the texture is just great. It takes a little bit of work, but a third of a cup of pearls makes a large amount. It’s a perfect after-the-kids’-bedtime treat.

My food photography leaves a bit to be desired.

This recipe was 100% copied from the Bob’s Red Mill website, so give them full credit. I have a tweak or two to offer, though, due to the fact I’ve made it like five times.


  • 1/3 cup small-pearl tapioca
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-1/4 cups milk (2% milk)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Soak tapioca in water for 30 minutes in a 1-1/2 quart saucepan. Do not drain remaining water, if any.
  2. Add milk, salt, 1/4 cup sugar and lightly beaten egg yolks to tapioca and stir over medium heat until boiling. Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir often.
  3. Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Fold about 3/4 cup of hot tapioca into the egg whites, then gently fold mixture back into saucepan. Stir over low heat for about 3 minutes. Cool 15 minutes then add vanilla.
  4. Serve warm or chilled, plain or with fruits, nutmeg or coconut mixed in. Makes 3-1/2 cups (4 servings).

Here are my adjustments:

  • On #2, my mixture never boils on medium (or I’m just too impatient), so I tend to start on medium, then slowly crank it up as I stand over the steaming pot, stirring.
  • For #2, don’t worry about dirtying another dish, simply toss those egg yolks into the mix and squish them with a spoon.
  • Number 3: We’re in 2018. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the egg whites. Unless you want insane forearms.

I like tapioca pudding both warm and cold. It’s delicious with nutmeg, but my husband swears by cinnamon and cut-up, fresh peaches. Yum-o.

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Published by Christine Boatwright

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