A Chia Seed Pudding Experiment & The Neighbourhood Oddball

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding | © Urban Cottage Life.com

Late last summer I was on my front veranda doing some food photography. The plate was on the floor and I was crouched on the step, moving the plate, angling the camera this way and that, assessing the light, trying to get just the right shot.

And then, I got that feeling … You know, the vaguely uneasy one where you sense you’re being watched? I glanced up, and there on the sidewalk, about 20 feet away from me, a woman and her dog were standing, staring at me. The woman looked worried. The dog appeared indifferent. And then the woman spoke. “Are you alright?” she asked.

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding | © Urban Cottage Life.com

I wonder what she was thinking. Did I look like I was having a cardiac arrest practically on my doorstep? Or maybe some kind of breakdown over a plate of lentil salad?

Anyway, I told her I was fine, and that I’m a food writer and often take pictures of food on the front porch. We chatted for a moment and she and pooch went on their way, the woman no doubt relieved she didn’t have to call 911.

Yesterday, I decided to do some experimentation with the strawberry chia seed pudding I had a hankering for. I didn’t have any almond milk in the house, so I soaked some almonds for a couple of hours and then whipped up a small batch of almond milk, just enough for the pudding. I was feeling rather lazy (yes, even though I was making almond milk so I could make a pudding, but hey, a girl has her limits), and I really didn’t want to go through the mess of straining out the pulp through a nut milk bag. I wondered what the result would be if I were to use unfiltered almond milk in my pudding, so I decided to experiment.

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding | © Urban Cottage Life.com

The verdict? When I went to add the mashed strawberries to the pudding, I expected to find most of the seeds on the bottom of the bowl, like usual, needing to be stirred in. Instead, they were evenly dispersed throughout the liquid, which told me there was a lot more ‘body’ than when I use strained almond milk.The final pudding tastes just like usual, but it isn’t as creamy and silky. Still delicious, still nutritious, but maybe just a titch short of what I’d give company for dessert. But would I make it again like this? Yes! If I’m making almond milk for the sole purpose of satisfying a craving for chia seed pudding, I would definitely skip the filtering step. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my contribution to culinary science for today.

Now, back to my veranda …

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding | © Urban Cottage Life.com

After the pudding was set, I spooned some into a pretty glass to get some photos. I took some indoor shots and then moved out onto the veranda to take advantage of the soft daylight. And a few moments later I noticed the mail carrier looking at me with curiosity. “I’m a food writer,” I told him, “Just taking some pictures!” He was curious about what was in the glass, which led to a brief chat about chia seed pudding. Back I went to my photography, intent on getting the photo above, when again I sensed someone looking at me. Different woman, different dog, same look of puzzlement. Same conversation.

I can’t complain. Not only am I happy to talk to people about what I do, but I doubt I would have met half as many people in my new neighbourhood were I not spending so much time on my veranda with a dish of food and a camera.

And I can only imagine what kind of conversations are happening around dinner tables in my neighbourhood. “You won’t believe what I saw today, Ernie! That new woman down the street …”

28 comments

  1. Lol, I think my neighbors might think I’m nuts as well. I like to take my pics outside whenever I can too. I bought some chai seeds a few weeks ago but haven’t tried them yet. I think I’ll dig them out this afternoon 😃 Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s always interesting to see how people react when I say I’m a food writer or food blogger, and even more interesting — and sometimes — entertaining to see how they respond to my photography in action! Thanks for stopping by Lyndsay!

  2. Haha! That’s too funny! I’ve actually never taken my food pictures outside, although some days the light is perfect and I’m tempted. Anyways, your chia seed pudding looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your funny experiences 🙂

  3. I couldn’t use our porch to take pictures, right now…too much snow 🙂 . But I know what you’re saying, We look pretty “weird” when we’re concentrated taking pictures of our food. Your chia seed pudding looks fantastic, with or without strained almond milk, I would love to taste it, since I’ve never had chia seeds before…

    • Chia seeds make a good pudding, a little like tapioca in appearance and texture, but different … I love mine with either mashed strawberries or raspberries. And those chia seeds are pretty nutritious, so it’s pretty much a win all round! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  4. I literally laughed out loud when I read this! I feel like this is exactly what would happen to me if I were to start taking photos outside in my cul-de-sac. I have a few very nosy neighbours I’m sure would make just as good of stories! This chia pudding looks divine! Thank you for your contribution to science, Marlene!

    • I’m so glad to hear this made you laugh, Amanda. It’s always tricky writing something that’s intended to be humorous. I must say, though, I seem to get a lot of material in my day to day blogging life, lol. So glad you appreciate my scientific contributions!

  5. lol… when you think about it… this is the perfect way to make batches of cookies and not eat them all! You can make them, photograph them outside and then hand them out to onlookers. You will probably be come the most popular person in the neighbourhood!

  6. I use my front porch a lot — pristine concrete, it’s lovely. But every time I hear my neighbour’s door open when I’m out there, I quick dash inside to avoid the awkward conversation of why my supper is on the ground and I’m hovering over it , butt in the air usually, with my camera. I’m sure they’ve seen me out the window but man, do I move quickly when I hear those squeaky hinges…

    • Glad you enjoyed it Janet. I used to take photos on the back deck of my last house, and occasionally I’d catch someone in one of the yards nearby staring at. It seems to go with the territory! I do find most people are genuinely interested in what I do, though.

  7. I may not know the dog but I do know that look and have heard the questions. All for the sake of getting good light. My favorite was when I was trying to get a ground level shot of the street in front of my home before I left for Italy. I was laying in the middle of the street, felt someone watching me, and looked up to see 2 young adults staring, their amusement clearly showing on their faces. The real show came when I tried to get up. I didn’t look dare their way when I did.
    I do enjoy chia pudding but haven’t made it in some time. I really should get back in the habit of making it again. Thanks, Mar, for the reminder, as well as for the idea of making my own, thick almond milk. That really does sound good.

    • You made me laugh, John! I know well that ‘getting up’ issue. I was on my veranda again yesterday, getting cosy with a plate of broccolini (because, well why not?) when I realized that I needed to get myself vertical again. It’s really not as elegant an operation as it used to be, lol. Isn’t it funny how we fall out of the habit of making some dishes we enjoy? Glad to hear my post has reminded you about chia pudding!

  8. Haha…I love it! Glad you were fine, your efforts paid off Marlene, your chia seed pudding looks absolutely divine…beautiful photos. And yes, I’m giggling at the conversation around your neighbour’s table that night… 😉

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