Monday, August 8, 2016

Mom's Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding - Photo by Cynthia Raxter
Cooking from scratch doesn't take much longer.
Just a bit more attention.  
Mom's Banana Pudding

4 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sugar
generous pinch of salt
4 large eggs, separated (you'll need whites later for meringue)
3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box vanilla wafers
5-6 bananas, medium ripe
Lemon juice
4 egg whites (reserved from above)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cornstarch, sugar & salt in a large glass bowl. Add egg yolks one at a time & beat well after each. Slowly stir in milk. Cook in microwave at 30% power, stirring every 2 minutes, until ingredients are thickened and smooth. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla.

To layer the banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. (Another 3-quart casserole dish will work too - as long as it's oven-proof.) Slice bananas and place on top of the wafers. Pour one-third of custard over all. Repeat layering process until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used. End with a final layer of wafers standing up around the edges for decorative purposes.

For the Meringue: Wipe out a large mixing bowl and the mixer's beaters with lemon juice (to remove any traces of oil). Preheat the oven to 425.

Bynum General Store Storytelling - Second Saturdays
Bynum Front Porch Storytelling
6:30 - 9pm September 10  
950 Bynum Road Pittsboro, NC

Whip egg whites with the electric mixer set at high speed for 1-2 minutes - the whites will be foamy. Add cream of tartar. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat on high after each addition. (You want the sugar to melt and be absorbed before you add the next spoonful.) The meringue will get fluffier and fluffier. Once all the sugar has been added continue beating - but stop the mixer every minute or so and lift the beaters out of the bowl a little. When the tips of the meringue don't fall over it's ready. Fold in the vanilla.

Spread the meringue over the pudding, making sure to seal to the edges of the dish. Brown it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Take it out when the tips are brown. Watch it carefully - as Momma says, "It will burn in a wink of an eye!!!"

Leave on the counter for about an hour to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 

See you soon! Love, Cindy

Twitter: @cynthiaraxter
Further adventures:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bynum Front Porch Storytelling

Treat yourself to an evening of storytelling at the historic Bynum General Store - Saturday May 14 - 6:30-9pm!
Judith Valerie

Tellers are Roger Manus, Garry Lipson, Judith Valerie and Henry Vogel. Bear Creek humorist Candice Knotts hosts! 

North Carolina’s best storytellers! True life stories, folk tales, traditional stories from many lands … LIES! Be ready to laugh, cry and laugh some more. The event is family friendly – “the stories most enjoyed by those 8 and above.”
Henry Vogel

We pass the hat. 20% goes to the Bynum Front Porch – the non-profit benevolent organization which manages the general store as a community center, runs a Friday night music series in the summer, and provides two $1000 scholarships to Chatham County seniors every year. (Friday night Music starts May 6!) 

Candice Knotts

Bynum is a former cotton mill village turned artist community beside the Haw River, 10 miles South of Chapel Hill. Bynum General Store's address is 950 Bynum Road, Pittsboro NC 27312. 

For more information about storytelling call 919-444-9535, email or follow me!

Bynum Front Porch Storytelling
May 14 ~ 6:30-9pm 
950 Bynum Road Pittsboro, NC

Twitter: @cynthiaraxter

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bynum Front Porch Storytelling

A new Bynum Front Porch series! A monthly storytelling show at the Bynum General Store! Family friendly - most enjoyed by those 8 and above! 

May's storytellers: Judith Valerie, Garry Lipson, Henry Vogel and Roger Manus

- hosted by Bear Creek humorist, Candice Knotts!

Lemonade and cookies at 6:30 - the stories start at 7pm! 

We'll be passing the hat for donations. 20% of proceeds go to the Bynum Front Porch organization!

For more information contact me: 919-444-9535 or email 

The Facebook Event for May is:

Hope you can come! Love! Cindy

Twitter: @cynthiaraxter
Further adventures:

Monday, March 21, 2016


Bynum General Store Storytelling
One of the great storytellers of Bynum passed away a week and 2 days before the first official Bynum General Store Storytelling show.
I say "first official" ... Storytelling has been going on there years and years. There was always a ring of fellas sitting in a circle of chairs in the middle of the store, a little over to the left. There are still worn out spots on the floor from their boots. If you needed to know anything - how to fix a faucet or when to plant corn or how to make chicken cracker stew - they knew it. They swapped lies, fish tales, half-truths and shared stories.
2014-08-28 19.04.58.jpg
Photo by Virginia Wallace
Roy Hatley frequently said to me, "You and Louise Omoto Kessel call yourselves storytellers. They just call me a liar!" Then he'd throw back his head and laugh.
As I left, his eyes would crinkle up in a big grin. "Girl! I'm so glad you got to see me!"
He was a big burly fellow. Loud. Didn't couch his words. Like all the fellas in Bynum, you knew where you stood the minute you walked in the door. He had scared me a little bit when I first met him. Until I saw the twinkle in his eye - he was all heart.
Just inside the Bynum General Store is a slice of a big log - the end grain marred by a thousand knife cuts - a chopping block a hundred years old. Saturday night during the storytelling show, a hunk of hoop cheese and a box of saltine crackers were there. The red waxed cheddar met folks as they walked in the door - on purpose.
"The Mayor" Roy Hatley
in a Cyde Jones' mural
Many a day the fellas (and whoever else dropped by) would buy a thick slice of orange cheese and a sleeve of saltines and that would be their lunch.
Louise Kessel, Storyteller
Photo by Dave Minnich

You'd go to check the mail about 1 o'clock... Two artists, the postmaster, Roy, Jack Wheeler, Prate, Billy Joe, Dub, the UPS man, the preacher and a meter reader would be eating saltine crackers whole, rared back in their chairs listening - and one of them would be spinning a yarn. Whoever didn't have their mouth full of crackers would be denying or agreeing. Those that did were swigging their Pepsi down quick to get a word in edgewise....

As we told stories Saturday night, I felt the whisper, “If these walls could talk.” It was like someone had bumped me. And goosebumps. Reflexively i looked a little over to the left .... I could almost hear Roy's laughter and see his eyes crinkle up in a big grin, "Girl! I'm so glad you got to see me!" All I could do was smile. Louise Omoto Kessel - the storyteller - was on stage. Yes Roy. So glad.
Photo by Dave Minnich

See you soon! 
Love, Cindy