Today I need to talk about something very serious, food sins. This isn’t a lesson on Bible rules against eating a pelican (Leviticus 11:13-20); this is the cultural sin of trying to change the classic banana pudding recipe. Southerners revere the classic recipe that is printed on the back of the nilla wafer box. According to a few Baptist preachers, God wrote down that recipe right after He inscribed the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. To try and alter the recipe would be the equivalent of asking a Southern Baptist to open up an NIV Bible.
My kinfolk from Missouri sent me a letter, (A letter for all the young folk is like an email that is printed out and then carried by human hands and put into your mailbox. Yes, you do have a physical mailbox, go out in front of your house and look.) and in the letter, was the mention of a recipe for banana pudding that was printed in the New York Times. I can only imagine the shock and horror of my distant relatives. Everyone knows that any recipe that comes from the New York Times was torn directly out of Satan’s cookbook. Also, everyone knows that Satan only knows how to cook BBQ.
The recipe included such violations of holy writ such as a box of vanilla pudding mix! It also had strange and exotic ingredients such as pretzels, cream cheese, and caramel sauce. I was shocked that they also suggested topping it all off with whipped cream! Every God-fearing good Southern woman (And a few confirmed bachelors, hello Uncle Spartacus) know that the only correct topping is meringue baked to a golden brown.
Now, New York is a wicked city. It’s where Liberals are grown in test tubes and raised by Satanist. New Yorkers are well known for reading The Message Bible. They just don’t understand that they shouldn’t mess with something a sacred as banana pudding. Yes, they can make their cheesecakes all they want, but God Almighty has gifted the South with banana pudding and sweet tea, and they must not act like Jacob and attempt to steal the birthright of another. Amen!
Let me see if I can explain. The first problem was using a box of pudding mix. Stop by any Southern Baptist church, (not the Methodist they are Liberals) and fine proper ladies wearing dresses as God intended will be making proper custard with a double boiler to layer into their banana pudding. The last time someone brought a banana pudding made with boxed pudding; they were added to the Ladies’ Missionary League’s prayer list and denied the chance of ever becoming a Deacon’s wife. The second problem was the use of pretzels and caramel. Too exotic! In the South, any ingredient except lard is considered exotic, and any cooking technique other than deep frying is considered strictly experimental and definitely questionable.
I once heard a rumor from my Great Aunt Griselda who told me that when one particular sinful woman, Edna Mae Perkins, wanted to leave church and not be hounded by the Ladies’ Missionary League trying to bring her back into the fold and stop all her backsliding ways, that she made banana pudding for the church’s fourth of July potluck (A High Holy Day) with boxed banana pudding and Cool Whip. The full casserole dish of the devil sat on the table completely untouched by civilized human hands, (Several mothers had to stop young naïve children from eating of that forbidden fake fruit.) and in the blistering heat of the July sun, the cool whip turned into a puddle of white hydrogenated vegetable oil. Edna Mae, with a knowing smile, left that pot luck with a full casserole dish and was able to leave the church never to return. The Ladies Missionary League simply assumed she left in shame and certainly didn’t want her back. (Since the banana pudding recipe is divinely inspired this was definitely the unpardonable sin) It’s rumored; according to Auntie Griselda that Edna Mae became a Seventh-day Adventist. Of course, that last part was never verified. However, my third cousin twice removed, Billie-Joe, told me that the banana pudding story is now one of Pastor Bufford’s favorite sermon illustrations. On any given Sunday there is a fifty-fifty chance you will hear pastor Bufford tell the congregation that their self-righteous good works will melt away in hell like a banana pudding made out of cool whip at a fourth of July picnic. The ladies Missionary league all nod in knowing approval and give a heartfelt “Amen.”
So New York Times, don’t mess with banana pudding. You just keep your thin crust pizza loving hands off it. Also, for the edification of those who live with me in Southern California, I present to you the original back of the nilla wafer box recipe of banana pudding. Remember now that you know the truth; you are answerable on the great day of the church potluck. Glory!
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