I first met Byron on an elevator – going up, of course. I was rushing on and he was dashing off, and when the doors sprang open, our eyes collided into each other. It was a startling and totally unexpected exchange. His eyes lit up like Christmas, and that was the beginning. Our first date turned out to be on my birthday. He didn’t know it until, three hours into our lunch – it somehow came up, and I was embarrassed to even admit it. “Your birthday!”, he exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me,” at which point he bolted from his chair, dropped dramatically on one knee and thrust his arms out wide to serenade me. With anyone else, I would have been mortified. But, remember, this was Byron. Byron was not only a musician, but a remarkable showman at heart who was destined for fame, and has, after many days, found it. But not before I made the banana pudding for him.
Although I grew up in the Southern United States, I was from the state which many Georgians don’t even realize is In the South. In Virginia, we serve spoonbread and tomato pudding– and yes, one day I would make them for Byron, who was from Georgia, and had never heard of them. But the way Byron’s face beamed when he told me about banana pudding was like he was seeing white lights from heaven, and maybe angels were about to descend. So, even though my Mama, a dessert hero in Virginia, had never so much as mentioned banana pudding to me, I hoped to make the consummate banana pudding for Byron. After a lengthy prayer vigil and seeking divine intervention, I called Byron over. I dared to take his Southern cult favorite to another level.
Instead of store bought vanilla wafers common to the traditional recipe, I baked a fresh banana poundcake, sliced it thin, and layered it with luscious homemade pudding, whipped cream, and the amplest, ripest bananas I could find. Byron, would cue the drum roll here. I’m sorry you couldn’t be there when he tasted it. But if you want some, you’re welcome to the recipe.