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Monday, October 18, 2021

Mother’s Day Cooking

Hungry for some of Mama’s cooking? Mother’s Day evokes such a flood of memories: Special times with our mothers, their unforgettable sayings and remarks, and of course their cooking. My own mother’s fried chicken celebrated again and again with the publication of “Miss Bonnie’s Fried Chicken” and her unique chicken fried biscuits in “Stir-Ups” followed by a center spread in “Ladies Home Journal.”

My husband’s mother also added to our family cadre of favorite recipes with her very particular version of “pimenna” cheese and homemade banana pudding. Both of these special women leave a legacy of food traditions we celebrate when we crave the comfort of their cooking years after their passing. They both used the “Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook” and Helen Corbit’s recipes for cooking up memorable meals.

Both women had an enormous influence on my cooking to this day. My organic gardening mother with her belief in fresh home-grown ingredients including the gifts of eggs and meats from the animals on our farm. The fruits of our labor included plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits from our small orchard and the quarter of an acre of strawberries and boysenberries I complained about having to pick at the time! (That was mostly because of the giant hornets who nested in numerous holes they made in the rich soil of that amazing berry patch.) “Old Bess” our Jersey milk cow supplied enough cream to top the berries and supply my father’s co-workers with garden goodies plus berries and whipping cream throughout the growing season. I’m sure it is a major reason I love farmer’s markets so much to this day.

One of my first projects in 4-H Club was poultry. Farm fresh eggs and whole milk are surely a special secret ingredient in most cooking especially custards and puddings. They are even more appreciated now as we live in such a pudding in a box kind of world.  Speaking of pudding, my mother-in-law’s Banana Pudding was an important recipe to master when my husband and I married. It did not come from a box and had some specific ingredient and technique requirements she insisted must be done with exact precision. What wife doesn’t want to impress the Mother-in-Law and please their husband so I gave it the old college and 4-H Alumni try!

You will find Miss Bonnie’s Fried Chicken with her Chicken Fried Biscuits in Enid’s Junior Welfare League publication of “Stir-Ups”. Mim’s Banana Pudding Recipe with a few of her SPECIFIC instructions is not as intimidating as it may appear. Enjoying Miss Bonnie’s Fried Chicken or homemade Banana Pudding are wonderful ways for our family to travel down food memory lane as we celebrate Mother’s Day. Do write down your family favorites as these recipes are treasures you will continue to enjoy long after our Moms aren’t here to celebrate with us. Have a memorable Mother’s Day!

Mim’s Banana Pudding Recipe

This recipe starts with a basic vanilla pudding recipe using more flour and sugar than I like to use today as the bananas are quite sweet as are the vanilla wafers. Stir in the sliced bananas just before serving so that they stay fresh.

3 Cups Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten (save whites for meringue if you like)
1 teaspoon real vanilla (or 2 Tablespoons Dark Rum)
2 or 3 sliced bananas (fresh Mother-In-Law bananas that are PERFECTLY firm and just ripened no dots or blemishes)

Vanilla wafers as you wish (I like the minis for banana pudding)

Stir flour and sugar together MIXING WELL. Combine with milk in a medium-sized sauce pan using a whisk until dissolved. Heat the mixture over low medium heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY with a rubber spatula to keep mixture from sticking to the bottom.

Mixture will thicken as it heats up so KEEP STIRRING to avoid lumps. Once mixture begins to boil cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Beat egg yolks and whisk in 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture so that the yolks are quickly blended to keep the pudding smooth. (This process is called tempering the yolks.) Then add the yolk mixture back into the pan and blend well. STIRRING CONSTANTLY, bring the mixture to a boil again and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in Vanilla Wafers and Chill well before adding sliced bananas at serving time. Top with whipped cream.

COOKING NOTE: We have a family saying that only Mother-In- Law Bananas are preferable as my husband’s mother was most particular. I use the dark and blemished bananas with their high potassium content peelings as compost or rose food.

Sherrel Jones
Sherrel Jones
Sherrel Jones, known locally as Editor of the original Junior Welfare League’s “Stir-Ups” cookbook grew up with an intense love of cooking. Long before her 17-year food columnist days at the Oklahoman, she was in the kitchens and gardens of her family’s farms. “Stir-Ups” was a catalyst for more discovery and inspiration as Sherrel pursued her food education in the United States as well as Italy and France.

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