Banana Pudding

Ever since I tried the eponymous banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery in NYC earlier this year, I am absolutely obsessed with pudding.  American style pudding, that is.  You see, in the USA we have a pudding that is like no other pudding in the world. Similar to a pastry cream and originally prepared by heating milk, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and butter followed by painstakingly stirring for a nearly an hour, it very quickly evolved into a variety of creamy goodness that could be whipped up in 2 minutes. This “instant pudding” was created by the hugely popular brand JELL-O and shlepped for eons by no other than the charming Bill Cosby with his entourage of adorable children. JELL-O brand pudding is absolutely-unequivocally-embarrassingly  “All-American”. And by “All-American”, of course I mean that it comes in a box and is made by whipping up packet of powder together with cold milk on high speed with an electric hand mixer.  Boasting an array of flavours, the classics:  french vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, pistachio (neon green in colour), lemon along with some clever new ones: oreo cookie, flan, pumpkin spice, cheesecake and more. It will last for 6 months in the fridge and could have quite possibly been initially created for astronauts (or was that Tang?). Of course, Magnolia doesn’t use instant pudding for their banana puds, but I have to admit that I don’t mind a cup of neon pistachio from time to time.

Not surprisingly, this form of pudding does not exist anywhere else in the world. In fact, in Ireland and the UK there are at least 4 types of puddings (including our little boy whom we’ve lovingly deemed “puddin”) and none of them are quite like the good ole American standby (again-except,of course, our “lil puddin”) It dawned on me while we were enjoying a beautiful Mother’s Day with a traditional Sunday roast lunch at O’Brien Chop House in Lismore, Co Waterford. I had ordered the gorgeous roast rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the accoutrements. Whilst perusing the menu I just happened to notice that there were 3 distinct puddings on offer.  Now, this isn’t the first I’ve heard of these said puddings. If you recall, in a previous post I blogged about the Full Irish and made a distinct comment regarding breakfast puddings as well .

So without further adieu, allow me to fully describe each of the aforementioned puddings: The first pudding on the menu was listed as part of a starter: Black pudding served on a bed of rocket and beet salad. These pudding starters seem to be a trend in nouveau Irish cuisine. Formerly only served up as a breakfast item they are now turning up in many a Michelin starred resto as an appetizer or possibly even in a starring role as a main course. Black (or white) pudding is a blood pudding that resembles a hockey puck in shape and size, is crunchy and has a distinct flavour. That’s all I will say.  Go on, try it…..I dare you. The second: Yorkshire pudding with the beef roast entrée. I love Yorkshire pudding. Very much like an inverted pop-over, they are an eggy pastry which when covered in gravy or au jus is like going to heaven and back. And the third basically accounts for all desserts in a nutshell. Pudding can refer to any type of sweet dish served up after a meal. Some have the word pudding in them , i.e bread and butter pudding, some do not. One of my favourites would be GU Chocolate Puds, deadly brownie-like creatures that are, as the name hints, generously gooey. Sticky Toffee pudding at Adare Manor became a twice a week staple for all of us. Warm rice pudding with raspberry jam is like a blanket on a rainy day, just the ideal comfort food. Perhaps this is where we came up with our idea of pudding here in the USA after all. Came over on the Mayflower and eventually fell into Bill Cosby’s hands? Either way, puddings here or there are clearly a necessity in life. Long live the puddings of the world!

Slan Abhaile, Imen

*Oh, and as far as the breakfast roll? Just a catchy little tune written by my former employer, Pat Shortt. Listen here.

If you have a spare moment, take a peek at my new column in the Irish Farmer’s Journal, Country Living, each Thursday on page 13.

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5 Responses to “Four Puddins & A Breaky Roll*”

  1. Marie Cotter says:

    I think you’re looking for Angel Delight, apparently its the exact same as American Pudding.

  2. Foodie Mummy says:

    Gu Chocolate anything for me. They are so rich and chocolatey, Yum….We have black pudding in France too but we mostly eat it cold.

  3. Eva says:

    ..and by the way, how about bread pudding? Is that only an american thing, too? Mmm, there’s nothing like a good bread pudding!

  4. Eva says:

    I loved this article! All your food articles remind me of an Englishman’s defense of his country’s famously-maligned cuisine, in which he claimed his people were not-so-good restauranteurs but were fabulous home cooks. You do mention some wonderful restaurants, though, so maybe the old jokes about British food really are wrong and out-of-date.
    I never realized American pudding was unique in the world!

  5. Beth says:

    Oh man, I want some chocolate pudding now!

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