The move into my brother’s new apartment has taken a few days, it turns out, and Sunday afternoon was one part of the process. After we’d finished unloading the first wave of boxes he’d packed in his car, Adam stepped out to grab more, while I organized his D.V.D. collection into alphabetical order, reaching behind where the T.V. stand goes, onto the white built-in bookshelves next to the fireplace. He came back, tense, still holding the plastic dish rack we’d decided he’d give me, and he told me his car had been towed.
The next 45 minutes or so, I spent alone with boxes and white walls, figuring out how the Brita water pitcher works, folding towels to put in the closet and looking at my silent cell phone, wishing someone would call me. Once those matters were sufficiently taken care of, there was really nothing left to do but sit down in Adam’s soft leather chair, which is a beautiful shade of butterscotch caramel, watching the softly falling snow that would later turn this area into a winter wonderland, in April.
Sitting there, I was reminded of all those things that lurk at the back of your mind, quiet, waiting for you to slow down long enough to listen.
Things like home buying, and what do I want, should I buy, where should I buy, when should I buy, is now the right time; the movie Marley & Me, which I’d watched at my friend Jackie’s place the night before, crying through the entire last 20 minutes; the future and all of its unknowns, from work to living arrangements to relationships; and then, largely, the fact that a few hours in my soft, fluffy down comforter would be about as close to perfect as things could get right now.
Anyway, by the time Adam called to say he was waiting outside, I’d settled on simpler concerns. Like how good some hot banana pudding would be later that night.
This pudding comes from Honey & Jam, a gorgeous food blog that I found recently, written by 18-year-old Hannah. It combines vanilla wafers with sliced bananas and a homemade vanilla pudding to make a soft, creamy dessert as sweet as childhood.
The original directions advise chilling the pudding before serving, and by all means try that. I, however, am a strict fan of hot pudding, and I have to ask that you try it that way, too. After you’ve spent time moving boxes, just seen your brother’s car towed and sat for a few hours in a chair, thinking about big things, you’ll be incredibly relieved to come home and eat spoonfuls of this simplicity, even if it’s accompanied by a frozen pizza, while you watch the blizzard outside.
Adapted from Hannah at Honey & Jam
2 cups vanilla wafers (I used mini)
3 bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Line the bottom of a 9-inch square pan (or a pie pan, which is what Hannah used) with one layer of vanilla wafers and one layer of banana slices.
To make the pudding, combine sugar with flour in a medium saucepan. Mix well, then stir in half the milk. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and then whisk them into the saucepan’s sugar mixture. Add the remaining milk and butter.
Place mixture over low heat and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour half of this over the wafers/bananas pan, while it’s still hot.
On top of the pudding, add a layer of vanilla wafers and then a final layer of banana slices. Pour the rest of the pudding mixer on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. (Optional: Chill before serving.)