The word custard sounds like what it is: eggy and creamy. Saying the word tastes like eating the food. When I was recently (okay, it was back in January which is not really so very recent) trying to decide what to serve with rumtopf (the fruit preserved in rum that I made last summer and documented here in June, here in July, here in October and here in December) I came upon a traditional German accompaniment of vanilla custard. And I very nearly made that (and was quite looking forward to it), until I spied the box of tapioca pearls that I’d been squirreling away in the pantry for who-knows-how-long. I adore tapioca pudding and figured this was as good a time as any to make it. Tapioca is made from the root of cassava (aka manioc or yuca). The pearls started out opaque white, and became translucent after they’d cooked for a while and the whole thing became a pale yellow after the addition of eggs and vanilla. Eaten from a bowl with some rum and rummy fruits ladled on top was some kind of winter perfection. Figured I should make mention of it before winter makes a final exit (which will hopefully be one of these March days soon).