I'm from the Northwest, and when I married a Southerner, I learned that not all of the United States is the same. At all.
The biggest surprise to me was the cuisine. My husband introduced me to a whole world of foods I knew nothing about.
There were turnip greens (gag), savory cornbread (where have you been all my life?), fried okra (never again), creamed corn (marvelous), chitterlings (I'd rather die), biscuits that aren't made from Bisquick (hello, heaven), boiled peanuts (are you people insane?!) fried green tomatoes (yummy, yummy), and then there were butter beans, purple hull peas, and black-eyed peas (also yum).
Let's not forget the desserts: pecan pie, strawberry pie, red velvet cake, peanut butter cake, caramel cake, hummingbird cake, coconut cake, and my personal favorite, banana pudding.
When I heard that my mother-in-law was making banana pudding, I thought, "Ew, no thank you." I thought it was pudding flavored like banana, and I do not like artificial banana flavors.
(I've been to more than a few Southern funerals, so I've tried probably 20 different versions of banana pudding.)
One thing that sucks about banana pudding; you have to let it sit long enough for the cookies to get soft so they taste like cake. I do not like waiting. But I like baking a whole cake even less, so I reluctantly let my bowl of deliciousness sit in the fridge at least overnight, if not 24 hours.
Making banana pudding for Memorial Day is a tradition in my husband's family. (This is amusing to me because they make it all year long.) So, to honor the veterans, I'd like to share this tradition with you.
Like I said, I've tried probably 20 different banana pudding recipes, and my mother-in-law's is my favorite. This is convenient not only because she makes it so often, but also because it's probably the easiest version out there.
HOW TO SAVE THE SCRAPS
This recipe won't use all the vanilla wafers. Obviously they're delicious plain, but if you have trouble eating a quarter of a box before they go stale, you have some options:
You can make peanut butter and banana sandwiches, you can put them in yogurt with fruit, you can make s'mores with wafers instead of graham crackers, or you can make tagalogs by smearing peanut butter on top and dipping them in chocolate.
You might have half a banana or so leftover. I make smoothies often, so I always pop leftover banana chunks in the freezer to blend up later.
If you're lucky, you might have too much vanilla pudding to add to the trifle. I doubt you'll need my help deciding what to do with a serving or two of pudding.