Friday, September 20, 2013

Comfort Food / Easy Southern Banana Pudding

For me one of the greatest elements of cooking is the story behind the dish. Everyone in the world can name one thing that they absolutely love. For me there have easily got to be thousands. But regardless of how many dishes someone loves there is always a reasoning behind it; 'My mom made this for me growing up', 'This is the first thing I ate in a new country', 'This is the first thing I learned to cook myself', 'This is a combination of a bunch of my favorite ingredients.' Etc. Etc. No matter the reason there is always going to be a go to food and there will always be memories associated with that food.

Now I will admit that sometimes I neglect some of these amazing dishes and it takes a request of a friend to stir up all those nostalgic feelings associated with it but when they do come back I am consumed by them. A buddy of mine at work brought up his desire for me to make him banana pudding.
Now this is 1) something I have never made before (very odd considering how much I love it) 2) something that intimidated me a bit (refer to number 1) 3) something I haven't had in years! So after a month or so of obsessing and much research I decided simplest was best. But before we get to that lets talk about why this is high on my comfort foods list.

Where are you from? An easy enough question to be asked right? Well when you are a military brat and you have parents who are divorced and remarried you spend a good amount of your life moving around. I do not at all mean that in a negative way. I wouldn't trade the way I was raised or the 20+ places I lived in my life for anything. But it does make that question a little more complicated. As a person of this background though you find a way to make some place home. You adapt ( and you learn to do it quickly at that.) You learn that a home is where your family is (and when you grow up and live on your own, you learn that you carry them with you in your heart and they are never more than a phone call away and that that can make any place seem like home.) Hey it's not for everyone but you do learn to cope and you make the best of it.

Now what does this have to do with comfort food. Well a good amount of my younger years I grew up in Georgia and if want to spoil a kid on cafeteria food for the rest of their life let them eat at Rincoln Elementary School for a couple of years and they will be shot. That was some of the best cafeteria cooking I had ever experienced. But my love for banana pudding doesn't come from there. It does however come from years of living in the south. If you want to talk about some easy southern decadence that is it. This shows up at so many parties and is a regular staple dessert item on most menus. Not only is it absolutely delicious there are many many ways of doing it. But I found the way I like best is with Nilla wafers. ( Besides who doesn't love a dessert you can put together in a little over five minutes?)

Anyways banana pudding is and will always be a reminder of my home in Georgia. I am sure that I will experiment around with other ways to make this in the future but in all actuality why mess with a good thing? This quick and simple dish is definitely one to keep on hand for a party or for a little reminder of home.

Southern Style Banana Pudding

( See I stole this recipe to share with you right off this here box)

3 cups cold milk (I used skim and it tasted great)
2 packages of vanilla instant pudding ( I used French Vanilla)
30 Nilla wafers ( I didn't count, but roughly this seems right)
3 bananas
1 tub Cool Whip ( I used fat free here too, also delicious)

First whisk your pudding mixes into your cold mix. When thoroughly mixed let sit for five minutes to set. Line the bottom of your bowl with sliced bananas and nilla wafers. Pour some of the pudding mix on top and relayer again with bananas and wafers. Do this until you are out of pudding and top with Cool Whip.