Today Monday Night Martha is all about comfort food - Creamy Rice Pudding with Carmelized Bananas to be exact. We started the rice pudding in the morning, beginning by combining milk, cream, vanilla bean, sugar, a pinch of salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Then we stirred in blanched rice and cooked covered over low heat for most of an hour.
We wanted to get the pudding into the refrigerator to chill because we were going to be attending the funeral of 96 year old, Mother Carlanthe Turner, at the oldest black historical church in Chandler -- Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Mrs. Turner was one of its founding mothers.
Moving to Chandler in 1939 with her husband and their three oldest children, the Turners were looking for farm work. The family moved into a home with two-rooms, a dirt floor and no windows. They paid $75 dollars for the house.
With a place to live, Mother Turner now needed a place to worship. She and others from the area founded the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in a tent on Saragosa Street. Later, her husband paid for the lumber for the construction of the church that now stands at 473 South Colorado Street.
All of this is to say that Mother Turner leaves behind quite a legacy.
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"It's a matter of time for all of us", Pastor Wiggins told those gathered, "One thing that every single one of us shares, is that it is a matter of time".
"There are no goodbyes in Heaven", said Pastor Wiggins, "just see-you-in-a-whiles".
When we got home we took three ripe bananas and cut them in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices and added them to a swirling golden caramel made from mixing butter, sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice.
The mix of warm carmel-y bananas and the cool creamy rice pudding were so delicious. We sat at the table saying, "Mmmm", and "yum" and licking our lips. This is one of the best rice puddings we can remember. It was the perfect thing to eat as we talked about food and family, and Mother Turner's remarkable life.