All of us grew up hearing stories around a specific meal or recipe. Whether it‘s Aunt Mary’s signature dessert or Uncle Matt’s special barbecue sauce, we soon realize the story isn‘t so much about the dish itself. It‘s more about the love and effort that went into preparing the dish and what was going on in someone‘s life when it was served.
In one of her books, Maya Angelou tells the story of being very much in love as a young woman. Soon, though, she suspected that “her” man was also seeing another woman. Maya went to the other woman‘s house to catch them both inflagranti. And she did.
While she there, though, she also spotted a half-eaten pan of banana pudding – apparently made as a snack before lovemaking. What was left didn’t look very appetizing. The meringue had separated from the runny pudding mass. The bottom of the pan was filled with a watery dark liquid.
Though she may not be able to keep that man, Maya knew she could make him a much better banana pudding. So she did!
- What do you think Maya was trying to say by making her man a pan of banana pudding even though he had cheated on her?
- What do you think Maya must think/feel when she’s served that banana pudding since then?
How about you?
Do you have a food-/recipe-related story you’d like to share? Tell us who is the creator of this specific dish, when it’s usually served and why it has such a special significance for your family or for you personally!!
Oh, by the way, here’s Maya’s banana pudding recipe!
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups milk
- 8 eggs , separated
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups vanilla wafers
- 4 ripe bananas , thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot custard until blended. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan of custard; cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla until blended.
Place vanilla wafers on bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with layers of banana slices and custard. Repeat layering, ending with custard.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase speed to medium and gradually beat in remaining sugar. Beat until egg whites hold stiff peaks.
Spoon meringue over hot custard immediately, making sure that meringue touches baking dish on all sides (this prevents it from shrinking). Transfer to oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove pudding from oven and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.