Melissa Dean.jpg

So, I guess maybe everyone has heard by now or maybe not.

I took a full-time job as the head baker at The Butcher Block Market and Café here in our beautiful downtown.

No, I didn’t resign my job as the Culinary Arts teacher at the high school.

Yes, I’m doing both.

And going to school, myself, to get that elusive teaching certificate. (It’s elusive to me. May be illusive to some.)

Is this too much, one may ask?

Not for me. Refer to the above title of this article.

But not even, in that frame of reference. In the very recent few weeks, I have made some changes in my life that most never new were needed and some never thought to comment on. But I knew they were there. Looming in the distance, illusive, at best. Just know I am better off and so are those around me.

But to get to the real topic at hand this week...and we will settle on a direct correlation at a later point...

I hate instant pudding mix.

I mean, I hate it with every fiber of my being.

Not only is it super duper not like my Mama’s or my Nanny’s or my mother-in-laws, but it’s not even instant.

By its very definition, instant pudding mix, in the cooking sense, should be prepared quickly and with little effort. Not true in the least.

I would rather stand over an unbearable hot stove and stir and stir and stir and stir until there are no lumps present, than to pour that “mix” into a bowl, measure out the milk and start the mixing process, only to find out in the end, that there are clumps and clusters of said “instant pudding mix”, not so mixed! I mean, as a baker, it is infuriating! I try not to take short cuts, but sometimes, it’s inevitable. Like the Fresh Prince said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” Some of you may not know the musical reference here, however, this can be sited in the 1991 song by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, entitled “Summertime.” Anyway, I digress.

Pudding mix = no good.

Mama Kay’s Homemade Banana Pudding = very good.

My Nanny’s Homemade Banana Pudding = awesome.

My mother-in-law’s = I never had it but according to my husband, amazing and delicious.

So, you guessed it. This week’s recipe offering is my mother-in-law, Barbara Coker Whifield’s, Banana Pudding recipe from the Barry Homecoming 2000 Cookbook. She would be so excited!

Banana Pudding

3 eggs

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 tablespoons of flour

Pinch of salt

1 ½ cups of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla flavor

1 tablespoon butter

Vanilla Wafers

Bananas

Combine the first sever ingredients as listed above, mixing as you go. Cook on medium heat until thick. Remove from heat. Layer vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding.

My mother would substitute pineapple in place of bananas, which was my Dad’s favorite.

Funny, Mama Barbara. My Mom used to do that, too, because it was my Uncle Martin’s favorite and he asked for it every Christmas at my Nanny’s house. Isn’t it odd how the seemingly strangest traditions permeate into our lives from those we have loved and lost? We miss you, Barbara.

This article is obviously dedicated to the time-honored tradition of sharing recipes, but it is also serves as a personal reminder for me. Nothing is ever truly instant. It takes time, dedication, and more importantly, love, to make things successful. Even instant pudding mix.

As always, I hope this contribution to our beloved Corsicana Daily Sun finds you, your family, and your friends, happy, healthy, and most of all finding joy in everything and every aspect of your life. These times are still so open-ended and we are so unsure of the future and the “normalcy” it may or may not hold. I mean, Webster needs to definitely get on working up a new definition of the term “normal” and maybe throw a new “as seen here” picture to go with it.

And on a slightly more personal note, please remember our teachers, administrators, nurses, custodians, principals, assistant principals, IT staff, librarians, new teachers, old teachers, school board, I mean, just everyone who has anything and everything to with CISD, as we head back on Monday, and begin to navigate some serious shark infested waters. We are all scared, worried, happy, sad, anxiety-ridden messes with nothing to wear and we need your prayers and unconditional support as we head back to our campuses. And just remember, my sweet teacher friends, I will always have cookies. And coffee. Always cookies and coffee.

Love,

Sweet M

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