I think banana pudding is comfort in a cup! There are many comfort foods, but I’ve always noticed that many people turn to this dessert after being stressed. For instance, after having surgery or being sick, people ask for banana pudding saying that it’s easier to eat something cold.
Is there something to “comfort foods” other than being a good carb boost? They can remind us of pleasant times from our past when we were in situations connected to friends or relatives. Just last fall at a gathering of friends, I took banana pudding. One of the guests that I only knew superficially was eating the pudding and struck up a conversation about the way his mother used to make this dessert. With joy on his face, he pointed out all the similarities between his memories of his mom’s banana pudding and the pudding he was eating.
Banana pudding seems to be a humble dessert which makes people let down their guard just a little and recount honest memories. Also, I’m surprised by who likes banana pudding. Just when you think someone is too picky or sophisticated to eat this dessert, you get surprised.
How did banana pudding originate? Some say it has its roots in the English trifle which consists of sponge cake, fruit, whipped cream, and custard.
Currently served in abundance in the U.S. South, it was not always a Southern dessert. One of the first recipe references was in Good Housekeeping magazine that was located in Massachusetts in the late 1880s. Within a couple of years, banana pudding recipes were appearing in publications all over the United States. But then somehow banana pudding became known as Southern dessert.
Maybe it is so popular in the South because banana pudding can be made without cooking when it is so hot. Maybe it is popular because it can be made in large batches and served to a crowd and Southerners like to entertain. Maybe someone realized that banana pudding goes well with BBQ and being that BBQ is king in the Southern U.S., banana pudding went along for the ride!