Some unforeseen technical jackanapery means this post is two days late.
In the intervening 48 hours, I made Hot Latin Boy his first ever banana pudding.
He’d never had it before and by the low moaning sounds he’s been making –similar to the sounds my shar-pei makes when I rub his ears, I call it an eargasm– I can tell the pleasures of warm, homemade vanilla pudding (do you even need to ask whether there’s bourbon in it?) are new to him.
Over on the Facebook page, I pondered which is the greater sin: using a half of a Hershey’s bar when making a single s’more (excessive and ruins the whole delicate taste and texture ratio) or those miserly folks who only use one slice of banana per Nilla wafer in their banana pudding.
One reader seemed unclear as to the usage of the phrase “banana pudding”.
It is not the same thing as banana-flavored pudding.
Banana pudding is alternating layers of Nilla wafers and sliced ripe bananas drenched in warm homemade vanilla custard and let to chill. Some people top their pudding with meringue and others with whipped cream.
Some may use homemade ladyfingers as their cookie and some use Chessmen (though usually this is seen as embarrassingly bougie and most likely to be sign of a social climbing Methodist who wants to impress the Episcopalian Daughters of the King) but if it isn’t homemade pudding –and honestly there is no reason not to make your own custard, it takes five minutes and is infinitely superior to any boxed variety– it’s not banana pudding.
I don’t even have the strength to discuss Cool Whip as a topping.
Which brings me to my next point.
I don’t want to overgeneralize or make some sort of inflammatory logically indefensible assertion here, but it must be said:
I’m pretty sure people who don’t make their own mayonnaise don’t get into heaven, at least not on their first try.
Admittedly, this might not hold up to rigorous theological testing and Duke’s enthusiasts probably go to limbo instead of straight to the bottom floor. I haven’t really worked out all the details yet. Hmm, I wonder what Mayo Limbo would be like…probably a place where you can get shrimp and grits but they’re lumpy and made by some guy from Connecticut.
Anyway, the other day Twistie was talking about kitchen gadgets she didn’t need. I also have an aebelskiver pan, although I’ve never actually had aebelskiver as I was most likely vaccinated against it as a child.
Although I’ve been felled by the siren song of a completely useless gadget once or twice (I’m looking at you, bread machine) I tend to save my serious errors in judgment for outside the kitchen.
Still, one must look on the sunny side, so here is a list of five kitchen tools that more than earn their counter space.
This thing sees near-daily service. Yesterday I used it to make agua sandia, a refreshing watermelon drink. I just cut the top off a seedless watermelon, removed a chunk from the middle and put the stick blender right in the melon and made two liters of delicious fresh watermelon juice in approximately two minutes. Blending soups right in the pot, making pesto, whizzing up smoothies or frozen umbrella drink and of course, making homemade mayonnaise. This is one of my solid gold gadget purchases and I’d buy one again in a heartbeat.
Unlike Twistie, I do love my deep fryer.
I rarely eat deep fried foods, but potato chips are so much better when homemade that storebought ones –excluding the divine Grandma Utz’s– just aren’t worth the caloric investment. Still, I’m not interested in one trick ponies, so it’s nice to know the Kitchen Kettle also serves as a rice and veggie steamer, pasta cooker and slow cooker, so it earns its place on my counter. I’m pretty sure it’d be great for popcorn too, but popcorn is an abomination unto the Lord and also gets stuck in my teeth, so I guess that will remain a mystery.
Another tool that gets a daily workout here at Villa Plumcake is my lemon squeezer. The lime tree in my backyard assaults me with citrus on a near daily basis and very few things in Mexico are served without a final hit of lime, but even when I lived stateside my enamel-coated metal squeezer saw a lot of action, particularly around cocktail time.
Okay, a mini butane torch is just fun. I used it on my banana pudding and there’s always this frisson of excitement. It’s like a handgun, but slightly less likely to ruin your meringue.
It’s also useful, especially for those of us whose favorite dessert is crème brûlée but have yet to master the art of broiling sugar in the oven.
As much as I’d like to eat crème brûlée every day, my little blowtorch sees more action browning sugar atop grapefruit halves, roasting small peppers and tomatoes, toasting small quantities of spices or easily-burned nuts (pine nuts do wonderfully in this, giving you even less of an excuse to not make your own pesto) or giving that extra punch of crispy caramelization for whatever comes out of the kitchen. Necessary? Not really, but surprisingly useful and unsurprisingly fun.
I think I mentioned my hesitation buying a kitchen scale before.
To me they were always related to fad diets and gave me ugly flashbacks just thinking of them, but honestly, they’re damn handy and make using European recipes which usually give dry measurements in weight, not volume, a snap. Plus, if you’re baking in less-than-ideal circumstances or can’t understand why your famous layer cake sometimes comes out like heaven and other times like hockey pucks, measure your ingredients by weight. You’ll be glad you did.