How food was prepared before there was Instant Anything.

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Grammy Gregory's Watermelon Preserves

William GREGORY was famous for the watermelons that he raised each year in his huge garden.   His wife, Rose,  utilized everything that was grown in that garden.   During the summer she always had watermelon in the refrigerator.   It was neatly cut into bite size pieces and all of the seeds were removed.   In the winter months her steaming, hot biscuits, butter, and watermelon preserves were a delicious treat around the breakfast table.   Will, as his friends called him, did enjoy a big breakfast each morning and Rose made certain that he got it each AM.

3 Quarts watermelon rind (green portion removed, the pink flesh removed, just the white portion of the rind.   This is then cut into serving size pieces.   A watermelon with a thick rind is best for these preserves.)
6 cups sugar

Let stand about 2 hours.   The sugar will bring out the liquid in the rind and dissolve.   This liquid will just about cover the rinds.   Boil one hour in a heavy pan.

Cool.   It can stand overnight if necessary.

Bring to a boil again and boil for one hour.   Cool.   This should stand overnight to check to see if the syrup sugars.   If this happens add a small amount of water to eliminate the sugaring.   The finished product will be translucent pieces of the rind in a light golden syrup.

Heat and fill sterilized canning jars.   Place in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Rose GREGORY did not measure.   She just knew how much.   She told my mother as best she could how she made this special treat.   She has experimented over the years and this is the closest we have come to her recipe.

Contributed by Candace Gregory, April 2003 -

Pashofa Recipe

Pashofa, a hominy dish, is the traditional Chickasaw and Choctaw fare served at all festivals.  In Indian Territory days it was a staple of the everyday diet.  It was simple to prepare and nutritious.  I have eaten the dish many times and is different.  It is normally cooked with small bits of pork in the corn.  I have never seen it cooked with salt.  I have heard that salt will make the mixture too mushy and ruin the texture of the corn.

Those of you that have read all the Indian Pioneer Papers posted on the Murray County site, will be familiar with the importance of the "Tom Fuller" patch ("Tom Fuller" is a corruption of the Indian word "tafula".).  It was a patch of corn,  usually about 5 to 10 acres in size, that provided the residents of this wild country with their basic nutrition.  Here's how they did it:

Burn out the inside of a good stump and clean it.  Save some of the ashes.  Beat the corn until it is cracked. Sift to separate the corn from the grits. Fill the cavity with white corn and sift ashes over the mixture.  Pour enough water to cover mixture.  Soak all night until husk slips from corn kernel.

Cook cracked corn in heavy iron pot at least one and a half hours, stirring constantly with a wooden paddle.  Wood is the best fuel. 

Add fresh pork and cook at least two hours.  Meat should be tender and corn should be mushy.  Salt after cooking or it will stick.  Eat while hot.

There you have it pioneers.  So, get out there and get that stump burned out and I'll set the table.

Dennis Muncrief,  November,  2007


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