There are some things your family does that you've done all your life, that it is normal to you. I will pass this oddity on to our boys. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out that rice pudding is a dessert to most people. Not in my family. In my family, it is a side dish to meatloaf. Yes, meatloaf. I remember Ray thinking it was odd the first time he had it at my parent's house as part of meatloaf dinner. Now I think he cringes because it is sweet and it is part of the meal, not dessert. Although, the boys did like the meatloaf and scalloped potatoes so much that they ate like Albert (from Bread and Jam for Frances) and made it all come out even.
I love this recipe because of its history. My Mom got it from her Mom. I tell this to the boys when I make it for them. My Grandma made this, just like their Grandma makes it. She refers to her small gold casserole, and I know exactly what she is talking about. I *know* she uses the casserole for other things, but as a kid, I swore that was the rice pudding dish and that was all it was for. I will post the recipe as I got it from my Mom, who got it from her Mom.
4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup rice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Spray casserole with Pam before putting in ingredients. This fits in my small gold casserole, 1 3/4 quart dish. Mix together right in baking dish. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
Bake 2 hours at 300 degrees. Stir occasionally if you are home.