Comforting Southern Memories : Banana Pudding

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My dad used to work in a little town in Mississippi when I was a little girl and ever so often he would take me to work with him, usually on a Saturday morning when he would get called in for an emergency. Most probably to give my mom a little breathing space but in my 6 year old head it was always because he needed my expert medical opinion and assistance on the complicated surgery he was about to perform.

Driving the forty minutes to work with daddy, getting to sit in the front seat with warm Alabama air blowing through the open car windows, cruising down the highway singing along to Cotton Eye Joe, calling mom from the car phone just to say hi i'm calling from the car phone, listening to him give pre-op instructions to his team. It's one of my favourite childhood memories.

Sometimes mom would come too and we would hang out in his office while he worked. I would sit in his secretary's chair and  play at her desk  with tongue depressors and crepe bandages, mom would sit in dad's office and paint her nails. In between surgeries, he would come by with coffee or a treat. The icingde on the cake to a perfect Saturday would be when they were serving banana pudding in the cafeteria. He would bring a little container with three spoons and eat it with us before he had to go back.

That banana pudding my friends, was perfection. It always had the perfect ratio of decadently rich silky vanilla pudding to crunchy Nilla wafers and banana slices. Every dip into the container would bring with it perfect layers in perfect proportions.

Ever since then, every banana pudding I've ever made or eaten has fallen short when I compare it to the memory of eating that incomparable pudding. Every. Single. One.
The pudding is always decent, but never as rich and decadent as The Pudding. The wafers were either too big or too small, either too soggy or too crispy. The bananas were either too mushy or too hard, too brown or too green, too sweet or too bland. You get it. Nothing was ever good enough.

Two weeks ago I came across another recipe for banana pudding that seemed worthwhile, but I was quick to dismiss it. My heart couldn't take another beating. #dramaqueen #iknow
Until a few days later and the recipe mysteriously popped up onto my screen again. I'm no idiot. I know a sign when I see one. I steeled my heart and girded my loins for one last time. Turns out I didn't need to. The minute I took the first bite I immediately became that 6 year old in a pink dress and matching headband, knees on the chair and elbows on the desk, reaching over the edge of daddy's desk to spoon fight her parents for the last pudding coated Nilla wafer.

You are more than welcome to my memories of The Pudding, but I'm pretty sure you will be making your own memories when you make this pudding yourself.

I followed the recipe to a T expect for one thing. The Habibi and I love nuts so I added toasted pecan halves to every layer. 


*i didn't take that picture. we ate the pudding too fast to take one. #hehe #whoops


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