I tried your recipe to meet a craving. It was a weeknight. We’d just had homemade potato rosemary pizza and salad, and we were cleaning up. While Tim was moving dishes from the sink to the dishwasher and I was putting ingredients away in cabinets, I tried to sound casual in announcing, “I think I’m going to make banana pudding.”
“You’re what?” came his response. I’d been cooking—well, cooking and working—all day, hence all the dishes for us to still be taking care of while we talked. Repairmen had spent most of the morning with us while we’d sat in the living room on our laptops and been getting up regularly to check on the cinnamon swirl bread I was testing. They were there replacing our furnace, which went out a few weeks ago. It’s November in Nashville, which isn’t terribly cold, but our house is old and drafty, so most of the time we move from room to room with our space heater. Don’t feel bad for us; our landlord bought a new furnace. Also, the chilly air gives me a good excuse to start baking something almost as soon as I get up. So after the cinnamon swirl bread, I experimented with a new sourdough bread recipe. Then, a pizza crust, which is what led to dinner and to the meal we’d eaten just before I was standing in the kitchen with Tim talking about what to make next.
“I know, but it sounds so good, and I saw a recipe I want to try,” I said to him.
The recipe I saw was your recipe obviously, the one you’d posted as a founding member of RecipeZaar (now Food.com) in 2002 and called “Old Fashioned Banana Pudding.” I was in college in 2002. I didn’t know about RecipeZaar. I ate in a dining hall surrounded by pine trees and people with Upper Peninsula accents and thought I was going to be an English teacher when I grew up. I did not cook. Since the day you posted that recipe, on June 30, when I was home for the summer after my sophomore year, it’s received 67 reviews, with an average of four-and-a-half stars. Commenters have called it “the best banana pudding I have ever tasted” and “out of this world” and “GOLD!”
I didn’t know any of those things when I started making it the other night. I only knew that it was a from-scratch version of one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, the thing my mom and I used to make on the stovetop, but from a box because it seemed faster and simpler back then. I expected your recipe to give me pudding, and I expected it to meet my craving, but what I didn’t expect was this: It actually was the best banana pudding I have ever tasted and it actually was out of this world and, seriously, ratherbeswimmin’, it is GOLD!
I changed some things because, turns out, the last 11 years have not only moved me out of the pine trees and into the kitchen, but also towards certain kinds of ingredients, the kind of ingredients which were and are the ones I tend to have on hand. I don’t know if those substitutions are why your one-hour recipe ended up taking me only 15 minutes instead, but that’s what it took. I told Tim I was making pudding at 7:42PM, and then I brought two mason jars to the table at right around 8, and that means the magic mixture we ate was as easy as those Cook N’ Serve puddings I liked so much as a kid. The vanilla base was thick enough to coat a spoon and to jiggle when I pushed it, and together with the bananas it had us both saying, over and over again, “This is so good.”
I made it again two days later. I decided I like you very much when I did. Do you still make this pudding, 11 years after you first posted it? I ask because I hope I’m still making it 11 years from now.
Thanks for spreading your pudding to my kitchen. In the future, I’d like to spread on many more things I eat.
P.S. I see you live in Arkansas. 11 years ago, I would have said that sounded about as far away as Mexico. Now, I’m your neighbor to the east. What will the next 11 years bring!
Oh and P.S. the second, to everyone reading this: We have a new recipe box feature! Read about it here.
One more! P.P.S. “Written Together” is free to download now through Sunday. You don’t need a Kindle, just the Kindle app, which is free and works on computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. Get the book here