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Monday, June 4, 2012

All Things Southern: 'Nana Puddin'

Okay, all you cooks and chefs of the delicious. Have you really lived if you haven't tasted one of the South's most fabulous desserts----'Nana Puddin' or, as they call it in Johnston County, nanner puddin'? For you non-Southern types, that would be Banana Pudding. What is this delicacy and how did it originate?

'Nana Puddin' is a rich treat made of layers. And more layers. These resemble the British trifle and therefore, look pretty when served in a clear glass dish so that you can see the sliced bananas, vanilla wafers, and sweet, creamy custard pudding. Often, a white meringue tops the dish. For those who don't want the hassle of beating all those egg whites for the meringue, whipped cream works well.

Now I won't confess to having grown up in the South because that would be a lie. Although my mama's from Virginia and my daddy lived in Alabama, I do pride myself of that Southern heritage. I had an Aunt Sweetsie, an Aunt Chatchee and a cousin named Ann Page, so I feel that I can claim to be a tad bit Southern. My mama even made sweet tea, fried chicken, and grits in Japan where I grew up. And I know we had a couple servings of that very yellow pudding.

One thing to make note of is this: Beware of any Southerner who says his mama made nanner puddin' way back during the Gold Rush or the Civil War. He's telling a story. That's because bananas weren't introduced to the USA until the latter part of the 19th century when they were shipped over from the Caribbean. According to Our State magazine, the bananas arrived in the ports of New Orleans and Charleston. Once Southerners got a hold of this sweet fruit, those recipes began to generate. People started taking banana pudding to pot-luck events and restaurants added the dessert to their menus.

Soon vanilla cookie boxes, the most famous being Nilla, included Banana Pudding recipes on their sides. You can try those or choose from one of the two below.

Try Paula Deen's recipe here if you want a meringue topping.

For a whipped topping, try Mama Daisy's recipe here.


Sandy in Clayton, NC said...

Great post, Alice. I do love me some 'nanner puddin' - which is the way we Johnston County rednecks say it. (Just kidding about the redneck part - I mean no offense to anyone!) My Mama would be horrified at using whipped cream on top though. How can you make whipped cream a golden brown? :-) I haven't made one in quite awhile but my sons love them too!

Heather said...

What fun! I live in NC and grew up in the state too. My maternal grandmother definitely made banana pudding. I confess that I don't care for it though - something about the mushiness.

Alice J. Wisler said...

Sandy, 'nanner puddin'---that's right. :-)

Alice J. Wisler said...

Heather, I think it is an acquired taste. Often, I find it much too sweet. And I'm also not the biggest banana fan.