Being a northerner by birth, there are a great many things about the south that are pleasant surprises to me. Snack foods, and the regionally more abundant presence of banana flavoring, are one of those surprises. On a recent trip through Tennessee (of course to Graceland, where else?) I was made aware of such a delicacy as the Dolly Madison "Banana Dream" cake, which looks like a cross between a Suzy Q and taco. Imagine a yellow cake folded around a loving center of white creme, all banana flavored.
I imagined banana bread, banana cake, banana pudding, circus peanuts. I bought the Banana Dream from a truck stop during the wee hours of morning somewhere around Knoxville, having waited on line behind a trucker who bought four Krispy Kreme donuts. Though unable to eat it at the time, thanks to other unusual southern portable desserts, I saved the cake, placing much stock in the moment when it would be savored over a glass of milk and wondered whether or not a post-snack cigarette would be in order.
I have always had a problem with keeping sweets. I'm sure I'm supposed to say that they don't last a second in my possession, but the truth is quite the opposite. I tend to keep such things for a very long time. As a child, my Halloween candy would often last me well into the following June, when the uneaten candy had not endured the aging process and had to be thrown away. My bedroom was often filled with Lifesaver rolls that contained one candy at the end. My reasoning behind saving all of these sweets was that though I wanted the candy very much at the time, what if I wanted it even more later and it was gone?
This fate almost befell the Banana Dream. Tonight, eleven days after purchase, I ate the Banana Dream. Though I was confident my want for the cake tonight was not more than I may want the cake in the future, my fear that the Banana Dream would begin to stale worried me more, and I ate it.
The consumption was far less ceremonious than I had Banana Dreamt. I ate the cake while sitting in front of the computer. I didn't even use a plate as planned.
Suzy Q's are wonderful things. As are tacos. Banana bread, banana cake and banana pudding are life-alteringly delicious. A Circus Peanut
can be a pleasure if eaten in moderation. The reality of the Banana Dream, however, was not worth waking up for.