sl_2rf13for16cntrl0609_cvrsop_01Recently, I received an email with a link where I could go and find out how Southern I am by how I pronounce certain words. The contestant picks between sack and bag, soda and coke, creek and crick. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that I scored 92% Southern. I feel the other 8% is due to computer error or the survey’s lack of true Deep South credentials.

I’m from the Heart of Dixie and can’t hep it. I’m proud of the region of the country I was born in, proud of my heritage. I don’t wave a Confederate flag, but do consider myself a true son of the South. And there aren’t many of us left.

Snaggle-toothed racists and politically correct imbeciles have spent the last quarter century trying to make those of us from south of the Mason Dixon line feel ashamed of our birth place, and there is enough of that attitude around to slowly erode the true South. I see it more every day.

Restaurants now ask “sweet or unsweet” when you order tea. Servers call everyone “guys”. Grits are a substitute for potatoes. No one eats collards, neck bones, or pig’s feet anymore, and lard, fried pies and salt pork are considered poison.

If that doesn’t concern a true child of Dixie, NASCAR now races in New York, Las Vegas, and South Florida, hunters and fishermen are treated as criminals, and there are people living in Georgia and Alabama who openly disparage college football.

Men cuss in front of women and refuse to say “yes ma’am”. More and more of us are exhibiting behavior that casts serious doubt on our parents’ ability to raise children. I’ve even heard horror stories of unescorted women drinking in public.

But the worst and strongest indication of a disappearing South came in one of the least likely places imaginable. I was looking for something to read the other day, and noticed an old copy of Southern Living, that bastion of the Deep South attitude.

One of the banners on the cover mentioned exciting banana pudding recipes. If there is one thing which defines the South, it is homemade banana pudding. Few things in life are as sacred as a cook’s recipe for this dessert.

I am deprived of this delicacy for the most part. The Woman Whose Garbage I’m Responsible For refuses to create the dish; she considers bananas too mushy to fool with. Besides, she was born in Michigan.

I opened the magazine and began searching for a really good banana pudding recipe. I found a banana pudding cheesecake recipe, a rum banana pudding, a pound cake banana pudding, and some kind of sick joke involving blueberries. Nowhere did I see a simple, beautiful, recipe for plain ol’ banana pudding like my Aunt Dana used to create.

I hate to sound like an alarmist, but if we live in a world where Southern Living advocates adding blueberries to banana pudding, the terrorists have already won — or at least the Yankees.

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Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

11 Comments
  1. Mike as I grew older all the old receipes my mother and grandmother had got lost or unreadable. If you use vanilla pudding, the kind that has to be cooked, bannanas and vanilla wafers layered in a bowl covered with whupcreme comes fairly close. Of course the whiped cream is not even close to the browned meringue. Oh yeah, I will have “y’all come” on my toombstone to be located in the middle of rural Georgia.

  2. Here’s what I thought. Why WOULD Southern Living NEED to print a Banana pudding recipe, since anyone with enough taste and sense to subscribe would already know?

    Anyway, here’s what I came up with.
    http://southernfood.about.com/od/bananapuddingrecipes/r/bln464.htm

    Scroll down the page for more banana pudding recipes and similar banana desserts.
    Ingredients:
    •1 large pkg instant vanilla pudding, (6 ounces)
    •2 1/2 cups cold milk
    •1 can sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
    •1 container whipped topping, (16 ounces)
    •sliced bananas
    •vanilla wafer cookies
    Preparation:
    Mix pudding and milk; add condensed milk. Blend well; fold in half the whipped topping.
    Alternate layers of pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers; top with remaining whipped topping and a few banana slices.

    Refrigerate overnight before serving.

  3. One of the few times I saw my Daddy cry was when he was swatting a fly and accidentally broke his grandmama’s banana pudding bowl. I still feel the loss today.

  4. I’m repeating what I wrote earlier, but I never eat banana pudding since my Mother died in 1964. It’s not the same, and never will be.

  5. A true southerner would you merigne and not whipped cream.

  6. Y’all – a true Southerner would never use packaged vanilla pudding to make banana pudding.

  7. The bananas in banana pudding do not NEED to be mushy. Make a nice custard pudding and layer in bananas and vanilla wafers. The pudding if made right will not last long enough for the mixins to get mushy.

  8. I wanted to post about banana pudding and all the wonderful tastes and memories that go with those words for me. But I can’t. I enjoyed the story so much that I have
    decided to hit the kitchen and make some banana pudding for dinner. Nothing else, just all that banana pudding. Mine! No sharing!

  9. Mike’s analogy useing banana pudding recipes as his “for instance” has a very sobering ring. As with every culture there are parts to be ashamed of and parts that should remain as what identifies that culture. Our Southern way of life was developed over many years of strife and change but there remains a thread of close family and friend ties that should not be broken. I used to be ashamed of slow accented speech with “y’all” as a word that gave away my heritage. Today I say it with a capital Y and make as many syllables out of one word as I can. As my Father told us “Slow does not mean stupid” it means “you are listening”.

  10. Mike…Nabisco Vanilla wafers are a key ingredient of course. And the back of the box used to have the recipe for a classic banana pudding. Check it out.

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