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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

POLK SALAD

In the days when I lived in the country I learned to eat most of the cuisine served in the south. The more prudent of the southern girls learned to can food in the summer to eat in the winter.

This required a big garden, which the farmer would cultivate the soil and help plant the seeds or vegetable plants. Usually after this the garden chore was turned over to the women folks.

The garden hoe was the tool of choice as the weeds were persistent and had to be dealt with most vigorously. Some of the favorites for canning were corn, green beans, okra, tomatoes, several kinds of fruit, including berries and several kinds of greens such as turnip and mustard, and the very important polk salad.

There were places where polk salad grew without being planted. Every year it would come back by itself and was a delicacy.

Each year in the winter, we killed enough hogs to last the year and cured the meat so it would last without spoiling. The greens seemed to nullify the effect of the large amount of pork we ate.

Sweet potatoes were a late crop so we enjoyed them on toward thanksgiving. By digging a large hole in the ground and lining it with straw you could save Irish potatoes by placing them in the hole and covering them with straw and dirt.

During the winter you would dig out enough to last for a few days. The fire place had a swinging hook for a cast iron pot so you could make homemade hominy or cook whatever you wished during the winter for there was always a fire in the fire place.

From the cows we had milk and butter. We made bread from flour and corn meal. The chickens provided eggs and Sunday dinner.

These are just a few things that help us survive hard times along with many other things such as the watermelon and cantaloupe patch, corn and hay for the live stock.

Selling milk for extra cash and the tobacco crop which brought in money around Christmas time was also part of taking care of ourselves.

This lifestyle caused me to be self sufficient during my life so far. I know there are many more that have had a similar upbringing, and have trouble with the way the things are today.

If some of you want to try some real polk salad (not the canned kind) let me caution you, I knew a guy that ate too much of it and he started having fits that would cause him to shake and holler, check out the URL below to see him.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOzaVpgeHJg&feature=related

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