Friday, May 20, 2011

Syrup in the buttermilk

On a number of occasions I heard my Dad tell of one of his grandfather's habits. He said at meals (mainly supper, IIRC), Grandpa Vaughn would always have two glasses of buttermilk. The first he drank "as is", but to the second glass he added syrup. This was ribbon-cane or sorghum syrup, raised on his farm and cooked at his syrup mill.

Last night I found myself with a glass of buttermilk in hand and a jar of sorghum syrup on the kitchen counter. This memory raised up and tempted me to try it -- sorghum in the buttermilk. I must say it wasn't bad. Not nearly as bad as I imagined. In fact, I could grow to like it.

This whole thing got me to wondering. Was this concoction just my great-grandfather's peculiar quirk, or was that possibly some old bygone Southern favorite?


Anonymous said...

Of course there is no way to know for sure, but I would tend to think it was a bygone custom, and your great-grandfather probably was around others he saw doing it as well.

This reminds me of something told to me about a great,great grandfather of mine. They said in later years he would have a "hot toddy" every morning upon arising. I thought this seemed quite stange when I first heard it. Then a few years ago i was glancing at the discography section of a book. There was a song with the title, "Whiskey for Breakfast." It turns out this was an almost forgotten Southern tradition, along the lines with home remedies and other oddities. Words such as poultice and asphidity also come to mind. These kinds of words are now almost as strange as internet was just a few years ago.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I think that is probably right, although I've never heard of anyone else drinking syrup in buttermilk. I thought maybe another reader might have heard of it.

Re the "hot toddy", I have heard my parents mention that Uncle Bob Holleman (my above mentioned great-grandfather's brother-in-law) had a hot toddy every morning. Uncle Bob was of a older generation of folks, born in the mid 1800s. He was a faithful and beloved Christian man, and the toddy was considered medicinal. He didn't drink otherwise.