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Crevolyn Wiley: Banana pudding, an ode to my mom
Crevolyn Wiley columnist

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I would be honored if you would allow me the opportunity to tell you about my mom.

Born in 1925, she grew up during the Great Depression. She knew what it was to walk to a one-room school house and live off the land. Her dad was a farmer, so there was always food on their table. Her father, by example, instilled in her a love of helping people whenever possible. He would kill hogs and then deliver hams to families in need. Mother would quote him often, saying “no matter how much you have or don’t have; there is always something to share with others.”

Mother would marry the man of her dreams in 1944 and immediately send him off to war. Like many others, she lived years not knowing where he was and if he was alive. Thankfully, they were reunited and went on to have 51 years together.

My mother was smart and a life-long learner. She read numerous newspapers, watched the news and actually read encyclopedias. She loved historical events and people as well as different countries and cultures. She could hold her own on the topics of world events to sports to cars. My daddy was a mechanic and our family had a long history of car appreciation. In her late 40s, Mother obtained her real estate license and then owned and operated her own company.

Over the years, Mother endured a lot, including three cancer diagnoses and all the treatments. Those times in her life caused her to realize what was important and what wasn’t. She would often tell me to take the trip, see the world and that experiences are the best gifts. She didn’t have much opportunity to travel the world so she was always up for a road trip. It didn’t matter if it was to Dahlonega or Destin; she was ready in a moment’s notice.

Mother had a quick wit and laughed easily. Nothing made her happier than a gathering with good music and good food. She was your best go-to party guest. She loved being around people.

Mother cared deeply about others. She asked questions with care; listened intently to the answers; and would follow up with a prayer and card of concern. She didn’t forget you had a test coming up, that your child had been sick or that you had a death in your family. She loved people so well.

My mother went to her heavenly home just before Mother’s Day last year at age 92. I miss her every day. So in her memory I’ll share one of her favorite desserts. In full disclosure, this is one of Paula Deen’s most popular recipes. Mother always thought the name was hilarious. Happy Mother’s Day!


Not Your Momma’s Banana Pudding
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In honor of Mother's Day, Crevolyn Wiley baked one of her mom’s favorite recipes: A banana pudding using butter cookies. - photo by Crevolyn Wiley

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman Butter cookies

  • 6-8 bananas, sliced

  • 2 cups milk, can use skim, 2% or whole

  • 1 (5 ounce) instant French vanilla pudding mix

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (or equal amount sweetened whipped cream)

Directions:

Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with one bag of cookies and layer bananas, spreading evenly, on top. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix; blend well using a handheld electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour over the bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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