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Southern Raisin'

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If you want something to eat nowadays just ask the kids where you gonna’ get it? Sad to say, but the reply would be “down at the super market.”

Have you ever wondered why an emporium is now called a supermarket? At one time a hun’ert years ago it was the “store” or scientific-like referred to as the local general.

My brilliant country senior citizens can relay the fact at one time most everything was grown at home and the only time a store was utilized for necessities of salt, sugar, flavoring and a few bare extras.

Friends, turn back the pages of time and reminisce about cornbread. Where does it come from, or where had it been? Believe it or not, but very few actually know or sadly even care. I reckon one has to be ancient to appreciate hot crumbled cornbread drowned in a huge tea glass of cold milk whether sweet, butter or clabbered? Yo’ preference could include some chopped up onions for flavoring. It just don’t get no better than to drape a dangling lip over a table spoon full dripping of such a Southern delicacy.

For the ones that have been under a gum stump all their life the cornbread don’t just high kick up in the middle of the kitchen table. Youngsters would never understand that hard working, brilliant farmers grow the choice indulgence out in the fields.

One of the most famous love affairs in our young country was the emergence of the cherishment during the early Pilgrims arrival. Seems like John Smith and Pocahontas met while dropping kernels of corn and small fishes in the same holes preparing for the upcomin’ Thanksgiving. The corn tasseled and the affection blossomed. That was incentive for Southern Belles to learn the art of sealing the fate of a successful marriage along with assistance in picking cotton.

Neighbor, cornbread comes in all shapes, forms, sizes and tastes, depending on the magnificent preparer. I’m sure that foreigners above the Mason-Dixon Line have never heard of a full, black, cast iron skillet cooked in the oven. How about hand held muffins in a lard-smeared pan, or wavy sticks smothered with cow butter dripping off yo’ elbow fightin’ to chomp down ’fore the flavor dissipates?

Our illustrious cookers will relay this all starts with some wholesome corn meal. Today this ingredient can be purchased at ‘pert nigh’ any grocery store. However, centuries ago we had to have our corn ground into meal if we wanted some larrupin’ bread.

Beloved, I reckon most all love cornbread in the wonderful South as this along with king cotton has provided us with many pleasures over the years. To sight down some straight military fashioned rows with leaves slowly fluttering in the summer breeze is a sight for meditation. Initially, for livestock or human consumption corn was measured in bushels. However, in some instances corn was measured in gallons. Yo’ preference.

Contrary to popular belief, the corn did not jump out of the hot, dusty sun drenched fields and into a skillet as there was more to it. Daddy thought the greatest store in the world was Mr. Ernest Sander’s grist mill on Armour Road when it came time for some corn meal.

But I dreaded the day Daddy would inform me, “Bo, we goin’ to the mill this Sat’day, so start makin’ preparations.” That meant more work for me, Paul and Lynn.

Now we dad to start shuckin’ in road gear ... GLORY!

Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin.” He was born in Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.

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