Miss Lucile was known for many things during her time on this green earth. One of the grandchildren's fondest memories of her, is banana pudding. She made her own meringue (I had no heart to tell Husband that you cannot buy meringue) and followed the same recipe from the same box on the same card for the last fifty years. Her children remember it, her church remembers it, but her grandchildren- her grandchildren cherished it. They would all laugh how they hated the meringue and would get an extra big serving by scooping underneath the stiff white peeks to get the yellow good stuff.
I have never been a banana pudding fan. I have never been a banana fan. Let's call a spade a spade- it does not matter how much sugar you put on a fruit- I am still not going to eat it.
[As I sit and type, LMC has a spatula in her right hand and bowl of whipped cream in her left- eating, while showing me her tap steps up and down the kitchen. kick-ball-change-kick-ball-change-walk-walk-walk...bite of good stuff... repeat]
My first trip to the farm, MIL invited the whole family over for supper on Saturday night. Let me repeat myself: My first trip to the farm, my mother-in-law invited her four children, the three spouses, all of her 755 grandchildren, two grandmothers, FIL's sister and husband, the neighbor's dog, and probably the mailman for all I remember. Everybody brought something- but what was on display?
The Banana Pudding with the meringue perfectly peeked and held in place by being broiled for the exact amount of time to create a quick crunch without defeating the purpose of what meringue is made to do.
What that is, exactly, I have no idea.
But I knew- I knew that if I ate nothing else on that buffet table, I was eating banana pudding. Whether I wanted to or not. If Husband and I continued to date, I would slowly show my cards about what a picky eater I am. Until then, a smile on my face... and banana pudding on my plate!
The family looked at me with questionably. Dogs have never liked me, so the neighbor's pet was no help. I was different. I was a stranger amongst their family.
Miss Lucile, though, oh Miss Lucile. Miss Lucile greeted everyone with hugs and kisses. She set down her dessert and quietly made her way over to me. I introduced myself and she enveloped me in a hug. It was one of those grandmother hugs that only grandmothers can give. I closed my eyes and smelled my own grandmother's perfume. In that moment, I felt like kin.
Since our first Thanksgiving by ourselves, I make banana pudding. It's not like Miss Lucile's- I cannot pretend that it is. In my defense, she never mailed the recipe. In her defense, I should have tried harder to get it. I make it more as an homage to the lovely lady whom I remember so fondly and her family's traditions.
I use whipped cream in lieu of meringue and have learned something about banana pudding- no one likes the meringue, but everyone asks where it is, between bites of that whipped cream.