(…third in a series about grand jury duty)
Anyone who makes it through the first day of grand jury duty is in for a treat on all the days of service that follow. Because smack dab in the middle of the big
table in the middle of the windowless grand jury room in the middle of the
Putnam County Justice Center sits the reward. And I’m not talking about the
eleven-dollar-per-day paycheck that all jurors receive.
What I’m talking about is Marcia Borys’s famous banana pudding with the mile-high meringue.
For the eleven years she’s served as circuit court clerk, Marcia has been fixing homemade banana pudding not only for grand juries but for any jury that serves at least two days in a row. I asked her how such a tradition got started.
“Well, for one thing, I like to cook,” she told me. “I come from a long line of good eaters which means somebody has to fix the food. My mama taught me to cook when I was a little bitty girl and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
“Reckon how many banana puddings you make in a year?” I asked.
“Probably about a hundred, but they’re not all for juries. I fix banana pudding for funerals and family reunions and lots of other occasions.”
Why, I wanted to know, would she start such a time-consuming tradition at work?
“It was stupid, I guess,” she said. “But my predecessor Lewis Coomer was famous for the ham-and-biscuits he fixed for juries, so I figured I needed to do something like that when I took over as circuit court clerk. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like banana pudding, so that’s what I decided on.”
“It means getting up real early on pudding day, I guess.”
“Yep. I can cook the filling the night before but I have to put everything together the morning of. I want the pudding to be fresh and pretty when I set it on the jury table.”
“Is your recipe a secret?” I asked.
“Absolutely not. It was my grandmother’s recipe and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to have me share it in the newspaper.”
Thanks, Marcia. Without further ado, here it is.
MARCIA BORYS’S FAMOUS BANANA PUDDING
Layer vanilla wafers and sliced bananas in the bottom of a baking dish. For the filling, combine ¾ cups sugar, a pinch of salt, 4 level tablespoons of flour, 3 egg yolks (save whites for meringue), 1 ½ cups milk and ½ stick butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly. Then add one teaspoon vanilla. Let filling cool completely before pouring over
bananas and vanilla wafers. For meringue, beat three egg whites and a pinch of salt at high speed, adding 6 tablespoons of sugar very slowly. Spread over filling and bake at 350 degrees until brown.
Yum! Yum! The only thing that would make it better would be some of Lewis Coomer’s ham-and-biscuits on the side.
(September 1, 2013)