When was the last time you drank a cold glass of Clabber?
That’s thickly curdled sour milk sometimes called Bonnyclabber. My grandfather called it Clabber John and loved it with a Hoe Cake. I don’t care for Clabber but I love a golden brown Hoe Cake. Have you tasted a Sulfured Apple Pie lately? Neither have I. What about dried Cushaw cooked with brown sugar and butter? Another old-time favorite is Shuck Beans and sow belly. Pickling was big before refrigeration. They pickled cabbage, beets, beans, corn, meat and fish. One of my favorite things to eat is holed up potatoes. After a few months under the dirt they fry up so sweet you can’t hold all you want to eat of them. Sallet greens were a year round favorite, Shonny, Chicken Toe, Mouse’s ear, Creases, and many more. My grandma could find a mess even under the snow. One of the best tasting foods to me is fried cornbread smothered in flour gravy with a cold glass of fresh milk. Chocolate gravy covered biscuits made a tasty treat also.
Our ancestors ate what was available. They preserved foods by whatever methods they could. Though labor intensive their methods often produced a better tasting food than can generally be had today. A frozen potato will never taste as good as one taken from in ground storage. A TV dinner out of the freezer and into the microwave is the ultimate in convenience but don’t expect that old time flavor. Milk from the store doesn’t have that just milked taste. While fresh milk is infused with flavors by the time it is homogenized and pasteurized it has become pretty bland.
The fast paced world we live in makes the foods our forbearers ate impracticable for us today. Few of us have the time or ability to preserve and prepare foods as they did. I know unless you are Amish the support structure is not there to allow the old ways. I am thankful for groups like the Amish who retain the knowledge to prepare foods the old way. People are beginning to seek out fresh products in search of real flavor, not chemically concocted ones. More and more people are buying farm fresh products, fresh eggs and fresh milk. Maybe this will motivate food processors to move away from chemicals and artificial flavors and seek ways to capture real flavor. We can only hope.