Sitting on the beach last Sunday, I noticed a woman walking amid the rocks at low tide, bent over to collect seaweed. I have seen many people search for starfish and seaglass and shells on these north shore beaches, but never this stuff, which is the opposite of showy — nearly colorless.
As she passed by, her hands full of the the small, tan, crenelated leaves, I had to ask. “Why?”
“Sea moss custard,” she said. It’s something her mother and grandmother made. “You wash the seaweed till all the sand is gone and then boil it with milk.” The seaweed gives off a rennet-like substance that binds into a custard.
“How does it taste?” I asked. “Like seaweed?”
She couldn’t describe it.
When I got home, I went to the computer and there, at www.hungrybrowser.com I found recipes for sea moss “pudding.” Simplicity itself: milk, sugar, vanilla, and sea moss, boiled.
Perhaps some smart, thrifty New England housewife figured this out a hundred years ago…
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