A Delightful Musing about Sorghum

Posted by Missouri Rev on Oct 22nd, 2005

Now that you have had enough of my dreadfully long musings, I though I’d give you a real treat from Ray County Missouri’s past. This delightful story about sorghum was written by W. D. McKee, a good Scotsman and noted farmer, lecturer, and author from the 1930’s, who was the proprietor many years ago of the Alfalfa Blossom Farm northwest of Knoxville township (a few miles from where I live). Enjoy the country humor and consider what it meant to be blessed on the land as the Lord’s “poor folk” in a time not so long ago.

The other night, while enjoying the comfort of a good 1930 fireside, when the cold wind was howling without, my mind went back to my boyhood days on the farm in Knoxville township, Ray County, Missouri! In my musings (or dreams), I glimpsed of the multitude of good things we had to eat – that we old-timers thought at the time were exceedingly common food for poor people and considered by the rich (or well-to-do) as belonging to the same class or category with the husks eaten by the prodigal son while acting in the capacity of a herder of swine.

Among these old familiar faces that we had to greet three times a day was the bowl of sorghum molasses (now called “sirrup,” sometimes). This caused my memory to sneak back along the sorghum route – and, before I had traveled very far, I changed my mind as to this one article in our menu being a food for the poor and the poor only – that it was good enough for the bontonous and gothomites dwelling in brown stone mansions.

Let us from childhood’s memory page read from the list written on sheets of silver, in letters of gold, as follows:

Ginger-bread, that put pep and fire in our early school life. Molasses cookies, like mother used to make, large as a dinner plate and palatable from center to circumference—and from circumference back to center again.

“Twisters”—long rolls of sweetened dough, made into a rope and twisted—no baker, however, skilled, able to fashion a doughnut half so delicious. No hole to plague the poor pessimist. “The difference between the optimist and the pessimist is “DROLE”—the optimist sees the doughnut. The pessimist sees the “HOLE.” These palatable, melt-in-the mouth, hole-less fried twisters would have saved the poor old lady’s mind, who grieved herself blind because she could not eat the hole in the doughnut.

Buckwheat cakes, made of buckwheat sown on the stony patch or in the orchard for bee pasture. The bees gleaned (from the blossoms) nectar to be stored in the six-sided cells, to be spread by the farmer and his good wife and children—yet it is common knowledge known by all men that even this delectable viand (choicest of honey) never had a look-in as long as one golden drop of sorghum “LAS-SES” lasted.

Hot, fluffy, five and ten stories high, biscuits with home-made meadow gold butter oozing out at every pore, crying piteously for the good old home sweetening to come and join in making this wonderful tripod of good things complete and further tickle the palate.

And now, waffles with their deep grooves and checkered corrugations made to hold oodles of this incomparable saccharine fluid, drawn from the inexhaustible supply in the cellar, made the farm a place to live and enjoy life away out in the big out-of-doors. . .

Every year a local club of horse team farmers sow a field of sorghum near my home here and then in the fall, using the same teams of horses, operate the presses that squeeze out the sweet sorghum juice, which they boil down in huge stainless steel “boxes” until they produce the golden “sirrup” described by this author. It’s strong stuff and takes time to develop a taste for it. I will publish from time to time more musings from this author as he continues this great story from his agrarian days as a rural Missourian.

One Response

  1. Komnata obem Says:

    Greetings article has very much helped, Many thanks

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