Nothin' Like Nana Puddin'
by Sharon Henderson
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C-o-o-k is a four-letter word in my book. Darlin’ you know I’m right, don’t ya? How did I get to be this old without learnin’ any good ‘ol Southern recipes? You know. You know the kind that melts in your mouth like there ain’t nothin’ in ‘em but pure fine s-u-g-a-r!
I come from a long line of good cooks. Cooks that can make your stomach think Heaven really can be found right here on Earth. My Momma was an only child so when her Grandma learnt that Momma was gettin’ hitched, she insisted on meetin’ the boy. And meet him she did and loved him just as much as Momma did, she did. She knew she finally had a grandson from her second oldest son. Ain’t no in-law in it, ya know?
Well, as they tell it, my great-grandma learnt somethin’ else that day. She learnt that my Daddy (well he wasn’t my Daddy yet ‘cause I wasn’t borned yet) loved him some nana puddin’, he did. And wouldn’t ya know it, nana puddin’ was my great-grandma’s special-ty! Nothin’ in no store tastes like her made from scratch nana puddin’.
She didn’t use no recipe and she didn’t need no measurin’ cups. Modern day recipes call for you to start with puddin’ mix. She’d hang up her apron afore she’d do that.
When she knew my Daddy was on his way with all of us, she’d gather her ingredients and fire up the big ol’ white stove and get the oven ready. She grab some fresh eggs (usually right out of the chicken coop there on the farm), crack ‘em open with one hand, swish ‘em around so the whites was in one half and the yolks was in the other. She’d whip them egg yolks and add the milk. She’d stir up the flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. All that would get mixed together and placed on the stove where she’d stir with love ‘til it was smooth and oh so thick you’d want to eat it right off the stove but, of course, nana puddin’ ain’t nana puddin’ ’til you get to the banana part.
She’d move that mixture off the stove and dash in some vanilla flavorin’. And it was a-ready for the layerin’. She had the biggest glass bowl I’d ever seen in my life. She’d place the nilla wafers in that bowl like she was layin’ mosaic tile. Then she’d place big ol’ slices of banana’s right on top of those wafers. On top of that she’d slop some of the puddin’ she’d just cooked up. Then she’d start the mosaic wafers again. Um, I mean the nilla wafers. Oh my Suwannee.
Finally she’d whip up some of the most perfect meringue you’d ever lay your gluttonous eyes on and placed it in the bowl so it stood a mile high above the wafers, bananas, and puddin’. That be-u-ti-ful concoction went in the oven and came out ‘bout ten minutes later beggin’ to be ate.
And ate my Daddy did. ‘Cause there wasn’t one time in my whole growin’ up times that we went to visit my great-grandma that we didn’t get to satisfy our sugar cravin’s with fine, fine, fine Southern-Style Nana Puddin’.
No ma’am I can’t cook you up none. I saw how she’d done it an all that but that cookin’ gene didn’t make it to this leaf of the family tree.
The sweetest thing I can make you is a pitcher full of some fine Southern-style sweet tea. You sit right there and I’ll go fix us some. Be right back, ya hear?
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Great story! I loved the line about placing the nilla wafers like she was laying mosaic tile! :) I'd like to sit in her kitchen, watch her make this, and then help eat it!!
"Ain’t no in-law in it, ya know?" Loved the whole relationship thing that you had going here; from beginning to end what I felt coming through was 'family'. My only red ink; that there spelling is atroshus and the southern gramma leaves my lack of english edufication mind boggled. Absolutely well written and a joy to read.
I really enjoyed this story. The words painted a very vivid picture in my mind!
Sharon, Awww...This was so delightfully authentic. I loved the "word choice" I felt as if I was right there in your grandma's kitchen listening to her lovely Southern accent. I also wanted a tast of that sweet pudding!!!! Nicely done, and a wonderful tribute to your grandma and all of the grandmothers in the world with their amazing treats. Thanks. God bless~
My mom used to use the pudding mix, and I used to eat banana pudding. Then I realized I didn't like bananas. This was a fun read.