Blogging from A to Z: April – 2016: V

Blogging from A to Z: April – 2016: V

The Blogging from A to Z challenge is to post everyday during the month of April 2016, except Sunday. I’ll start with the letter A – and hopefully make it all  the way to letter Z. Hope you enjoy the read!

Come sit a spell with me and learn about the foods and memories of my Southern heritage, and enjoy a little Southern talk along the way… I grew up in the heart of Georgia, married a  Yankee in Connecticut and suddenly became displaced from my roots. But one thing is true – You can take the girl out of the South – But you can’t take the South out of the  girl! I’ve learned to eat differently over the years, but I’ve never given up the foods I grew up on. When I left Georgia, at the young age of nineteen, I knew how to cook nothing! I pretty much learned to cook by asking mama over the phone, how do you do make this, and how do you make that; thank heavens for my Southern mama! Even though mama doesn’t cook too much today, she still remembers the recipes and she’s been my go-to person every night in chatting about my Southern foods and many of her memories.

Southern Food and Memories

VGosh Darn, now if this was a Valentine blog, I’d have something good.. but can’t get any goodier (LOL, not sure if that’s a real word, but I’m going with it and making it a word today) Well…. I do put Vanilla Wafers in my Southern Banana Pudding, so there I have a food – it’s a food group right – cookies!! Now if your gonna use Vanilla Wafers – you have to use the name brand. I sent hubby to the store one day for them and he came back with the store brand – I wasn’t happy…. But I used them anyway and reminded him for next time – to never bring home store brand again.

He understood after eating them – the regular vanilla flavor just wasn’t there. It’s just like in baking – you need the real Vanilla – the extract is not as  strong or flavorfull, or as good. I did buy real vanilla pods once, was going to put them in Vodka to make a vanilla vodka. You know, I think those pods are still up in the cabinet, I better go hunt them down.

Now you can never make a small dish of banana pudding, so dig out your prettiest mid-size dish. Open that real name brand box of Vanilla Pudding – layer the cookies on  bottom and sides. Depends of your taste as to which pudding you want to make, pudding from a box or from scratch. Until I married I used box – but now it’s from scratch only for me. My mother in law taught me how to make home puddings, and marrying into an Italian family, it’s called Italian Cream. It’s really easy….. Start with your 5-quart pot, wooden spoon and a whisk nearby. I  use Vanilla and chocolate chips or bars for flavoring if you want chocolate; I don’t measure the chocolate either, I just dump in the chips while hot and start stirring – add more if you want a darker chocolate, you’ll learn quick!

Italian Cream Ingredients: 4 egg yolks, 4 cups milk, 4 tablespoons cornstarch (heaping) 1 cup sugar: 1 teaspoon vanilla or chocolate chips at end. This recipe can be doubled if you want a really large batch of Banana Pudding.

Italian Cream Directions: Add all ingredients to a 5 quart cooking pan – with heat on medium, slowly whisk all ingredients as the milk warms and blends together. After all is mixed well with whisk, I then use the wooden spoon. Stir continuously until it thickens – bring heat up a little past medium to bring it to a beginning bubble. I let it slightly bubble as I stir – if you don’t keep stirring, it can burn on the bottom. As soon as it seems to thicken, it’s almost done. Can use whisk again at end to blend smooth if there are lumps. If it’s going to be used in the banana pudding, then only use the vanilla at the end when it’s thickened. If you only want chocolate – don’t add the vanilla.


Instead of a bowl, try making individual banana pudding cups like these. Photo from Smitten Kitten.

Check out Smitten Kitten recipe at:

Once you make homemade pudding – you’ll never go back to the box. It’s actually quick and easy and soooo good!

Mama remembers her mother making the best vegetable soup she ever ate – sure wish I could have tasted it, but I’ll take her word for it. She said one time, grandmamma gave my father a jar to bring home, as he so loved it. Well…. he  opened it over the sink, was almost ready to pour into the pan… and you guess it… it slipped out of his hands and crashed in the sink. Mama said he just stood there, dazed and with the look of… I could just probably scoop it up and pick our the glass. LOL  It went in the trash, but he looked so sad mama remembered.

I bet he made a return trip to the farm the next weekend for another jar – and I bet he was more careful! What’s your favorite “veggies” to put in soup? Mama says she always put corn, tomatoes and okra! I asked “no Lima Beans”? Boy did that spark a quick response... “Absolutely Not! I hate Lima Beans, but I love Butter Beans.” I thought they were the same thing – any thoughts on this? I’ll have to research that, but I bet I can never prove it to Mama!

So whatcha making this afternoon….. Banana Pudding or Vegetable Soup??? I’ll take a bet on the Banana Pudding! Yum Yum…

 Need More A to Z -then  you know what to do…2016: Blogging from A to Z Challenge

 © 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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13 Responses to Blogging from A to Z: April – 2016: V

  1. Vanilla wafers in banana pudding is a childhood favorite. My V post is up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Banana pudding is my favorite food group.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lyn Smith says:

    Love good Banana Pudding. Thanks for the recipe for the pudding. I’ll have to keep that. I’m not partial to store brands on anything. Occasionally, I’ll buy a store brand but there are certain items that I will not mess with and Vanilla is one of them.
    I fix a good batch of vegetable soup every fall. It’s like a sign of the season. Tomatoes, potatoes, corn, carrots, butter beans. Sometimes I add a pound of ground chuck but I always use Vegetable broth and not water. I prefer Swanson. I don’t like okra, so no, it doesn’t go in there and I have to agree with Helen, butter beans, not lima beans. When I think of lima beans, I think of those dried beans, which are definitely not the same as good old butter beans.
    My grandmother McKinley would put supper leftovers in the freezer and use them in her vegetable soup. Leftovers weren’t usually eaten the next day at her house, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, so she put them to good use.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really easy to make pudding from scratch – most people just never thought about it. I have never made Just vegetable soup, always make my Poor Man’s Soup with hamburger meat and vegetables, but i may just have to perfect a good veggie soup this summer so I can make a big pot to take to mama this fall. I still have to look into that Lima Bean vs Butter Bean controversy! That’s a great idea of freezing leftovers to save for a veggie soup! I’m going to try that. I can’t wait for fresh corn this summer! I think I’ll write a fried/cream corn post this summer. I have no more in the freezer, so I can’t wait to have a pan of it and a good biscuit!


  4. kristin says:

    I thought everybody put vanilla waffers in the banana pudding but I guess there was once a time before vanilla waffers. This post has made me hungry but I should go do some exercise instead of making a banana pudding with those ripe bananas in the kitchen.

    Finding Eliza

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mike spain says:

    Vanilla wafers were my Grandad’s go to treat

    Liked by 1 person

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