Her name was Mattie Maude McCurry. But I called her Nannie. Twelve others called her mama, seven girls and five boys. She was my great-grandmother. A hardworking woman from Georgia who knew her way around a kitchen, cooking “local” before it was hip. Among other things she grew vegetables, milked cows, and raised chickens for eggs and meat. Much of what she knew she learned from her parents, Ma and Pa, who grew and raised what they ate too, even smoking and curing their own meats.
The submarine shaped oil tank in Nannie’s yard provided a safe perch for me to watch as she wrung a chicken’s neck, it then blindly running around below, while I wondered “Who in the heck is gonna catch that thing now?” Only to soon realize that no catching was necessary.
In Nannie’s kitchen food was regularly prepared from from earth to table, resulting in a magnificent spread each time. Nothing fancy. Just darn good. The goodness she could cook up in her large iron skillets would cause any great chef of today to envy.
She taught her twelve how to cook too. Many of the men, my great uncles, becoming masters in the kitchen themselves. There’s Uncle Pierce and his prized BBQ. Sakes alive that man can cook some pork. When he was younger, Uncle Don cooked up goodness at The Seaside Grill, a restaurant on Folly Beach operated by my grandparents. Later Don hosted many reunions and cookouts for which he prepared BBQ, seafood or other tasty goodness. Then there’s Uncle Allen, otherwise known as “Brother” who cooked up a storm. Zucchini bread was one of his specialties. And we can’t forget Uncle Bobby with his homemade banana pudding (what I’m sharing with you today), made fresh from bananas growing right in his Floridian yard.
And those are just the men folk. Don’t even get me started with what the women have up their sleeves.
I have to think that each time her children were in the kitchen, the gifts Nannie passed along swirled in the back of their minds. What a legacy to pass along. Food, sustenance, made with care, and love, and time–something I think we take for granted with our fast paced lives, and grocery stores stocked with prepared foods and drive-thrus on every corner. My Nannie was one skilled woman, and lovingly passed those skills along. I sure hope I can follow in her footsteps with my two.
My Aunt Carole has compiled two cookbooks featuring many family recipes. I found Uncle Bobby’s recipe for Banana Pudding in one of them while hunting for something else. I forgot what I was looking for and happily settled on this instead, Uncle Bobby’s Banana Pudding. My fifteen year old daughter got wind of what was being made and pretty much took charge, working through the recipe herself.
She carefully layered the dessert.
We found mini vanilla wafers and decided on individual servings. Please note, these dessert dishes are huge servings, really double servings–having-dessert-for-dinner kind of servings.
Things came together quite nicely. What a fantastic job by a young chef in the making. A tasty success for sure! She should’ve made a double batch I think, because it didn’t last long.
A big thanks to Uncle Bobby, and more importantly to Nannie, and all of the other Nannies out there who take the time to create such a rich and delicious heritage.
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 6-8 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
- 1 12 oz. box of vanilla wafers
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- In a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder.
- Mix in the milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Combine well and cook, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until thick, about 10-15 minutes. Let pudding cool.
- In a casserole dish, or individual dessert dishes, starting with wafers on the bottom, repeat layers of wafers, bananas and pudding until all ingredients are used.
- If desired top with whipped cream.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.