Side Dish: Bananas! (February 21, 2011)


This week I thought we’d look at the phrase “going bananas” or “drive me bananas” as in: “Sometimes Kevin Walker can drive me bananas.” It’s funny because we all know what it means, but I did a bunch of research and cannot find where the expression came from. Most of the research suggests that the word popped up in 1960s, which I thought was surprising recent. But still, why do you think it was bananas and not any other fruit? I guess: “going honeydew” doesn’t really have much of a ring to it.

But bananas stand out as the most popular fruit in the US, which is surprising when you consider very few bananas are actually grown here. In fact the US isn’t even in the top ten banana producing countries. (India produces the most bananas in the world.)

So today I’m going to share with you my favorite banana pudding recipe. Now this one calls for ripe bananas because as the fruit ripens the starch turns to sugar and so the riper the banana, the sweeter the taste. But when you make this recipe be sure to throw away the peel. The last thing you want to do is slip on a banana peel – and that does happen believe it or not!

Enjoy going bananas with this tasty treat!



  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box (12-oz) Nabisco Nilla Wafers
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix

1. ) Beat the sweetened condensed milk and water together until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat for about 2 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. (*This step is important for making the pudding set)

2. ) Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the now-whipped cream until well blended. You shouldn’t see any more pudding left.

3. ) Now on to assembly! Get a large, wide, glass bowl (one that holds about 5-quarts). Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding.

4.) It’s like lasagna! Just repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers, wafer crumbs and/or banana slices on top.

5.) Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours (but not longer) before serving.