During my freshman year of high school, my best friend Wendy Foss and I would lolly gag after the last bell rang. Sometimes we would be involved in a project with drama class, or we'd try to earn a little extra credit in the library for our English class, but more often than not, we were sitting unabashedly in the bleachers, watching water polo practice. I'm not proud of this, knowing now that my time could have been much better spent, but readers, there you have it. I was a decidedly average teenager. This was in the days before call waiting or cell phones, so when Wendy and I had nothing left to stare at and were ready to go home, our first stop was the office to try and call our moms or even an older sibling. Inevitably, the phone lines were busy. So we would begin the hike home. Wendy was lucky-she only had to walk four miles before we parted ways, and I was left to walk the last lonely mile alone, up the hill to Gottes Lane. All the way home, we would stop at every available telephone to try yet again to make contact with anyone over the age of sixteen. At mile marker one was the telephone at Marie Calendar's. If we had enough money, we would soothe our disappointment about the tied up phone lines with a shared slice of banana cream pie. Pretty soon, we developed a real hankering for the stuff, especially the way Marie served it, all sprinkled with toasted almonds. We actually started looking forward to the long walks home, sweetened by long conversations and slices of pie. The next year, Wendy got her drivers license and as far as I can remember we never walked home or went to Marie Calendar's again. But all these years later, I still have fond memories of the banana cream pie, and truth be told of the long walk home with my best friend.
This week's assignment for Tuesdays with Dorie, brought back happy memories and turned me into a banana cream believer once again. Especially when you try Dorie's brown sugary custard filling. I still love you Marie, but Dorie's pretty tough to beat. (Here's the real recipe-you can make it for about $5.00.) I made my pies into little babies in custard cups. A 1/2 batch will get you two little pies, and then of course I had to make banana-less pies for my two little charges. They have never had to walk home from school, so they don't understand the powerful association for me and banana cream. And sometimes, I get a strange urge to whip cream by hand. It makes me feel kinda tough. That is, before my arm starts to burn and I feel like quitting, but don't want to wash even more dishes if I switch over to my Kitchen Aid. By then I don't feel so macho anymore. Next Up:
Carrot Ginger Soup