If you know where there’s a syrup mill, don’t call me, I’ll call you.
1. In another place and time, I helped harvest the cane from whence syrup is made. It is no fun.
2. In another place and time, my morning diet — seven days a week, 52 weeks a year — included sorghum syrup, which is one product of the cane.
I flat out hate sorghum syrup.
Now, if you’re wondering what got me on this message, blame it on a semi-addiction to prowling the world via a Toshiba laptop computer and that great search engine, Google.
The headline was like new air brakes on an 18-wheeler.
Sorghum Speaks With a Sweet Drawl
One thing that struck me about that headline is I did, in my tender years, spend considerable time talking to (or “at”) the cane. I also spent considerable time staring at a quart jar of the stuff on the breakfast table, muttering under my breath such things as “When I get big enough to run away from home and stay gone, I’m gone ... and I ain’t packing no sorghum syrup in my bags.”
That may sound silly, but them’s my sentiments (with the language cleaned up more than a little bit, of course).
Anyway, one reason I “muttered” is my dad flat out loved his sorghum syrup, the darker and thicker the better. His great love at breakfast was a piece of hot cornbread sliced open, buttered, and then doused in sorghum syrup.
Peering at me across the table, his concern was short and to the point ...
“Ain’tcha gonna eat, boy?”
“Not hungry, Daddy, musta been something I et last night.”
But once he was out the door, my sainted little mother would reach in the oven and pull out a plate of eggs, biscuits, and sawmill gravy.
It was amazing how quickly my appetite restored me to good health.
I do need to throw in a postscript here.
My maternal grandfather, the Rev. George D. Cobb Sr. (one of the great country preachers since the Bible was translated from the Greek) owned a syrup mill.
Around my grandfather, I could mostly dodge the cane gathering, but come the cool of the evening when he did the cooking, I was right there. It was our time and while my grandfather couldn’t sing a lick, he knew the words to all the great hymns. We had a really good time ...
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sorghum ...”
Anyway, sorghum syrup is country and I’m country and I suppose I need to cut the sorghum a bit of slack, but I just can’t find the Christian forgiveness needed.
Also, in reading the article Sorghum Speaks With a Sweet Drawl, it came to me there are chefs out there who don’t know you should put sowbelly in butter beans. As much as my daddy loved his sorghum, I wonder what he would think about ...
“Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston (uses) sorghum (to)sweeten semifreddo.”
My daddy knew about sorghum on hot cornbread, but I can hear his growl on that one ...
“What in the bleepy-bleep is semifreddo?”
I’ll betcha it ain’t country.
Neither is ...
“Vietnamese-style sorghum caramel with fish sauce” or “lime and chiles to glaze pork belly.”
Oh, there’s one other memory of my sainted little mother I may have told you before, but not today.
Once she came home from the grocery store with a can of Log Cabin maple syrup. Which may have saved my life in that one morning there was no sorghum on the table.
Dad reached for my Log Cabin and from then on, until I left home and didn’t go back, I had to share with him.
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org