Barry Sharpe of Oklahoma remembers the perspective he gained from witnessing sorghum making; people are people wherever you go! Thank you for your story, Barry. It also is a good reminder to me that what I expose my own children to can make a great impression on them:
My Sorghum Story
“As a boy in Prague, Oklahoma, I was very aware of the annual sorghum making. We never grew sorghum but my parents used it all the time and us kids got into it when the 'store bought' maple syrup wasn't around.
“Keep in mind that Oklahoma in the 1950s wasn't exactly a center for harmonious relations between black and white families. To the east of Prague a few miles lies the all black community of Boley, Oklahoma, a center then and now for a rich autumn harvest of Black Strap Sorghum Molasses.
"My Dad always argued the best
sorghum came from Boley despite his many white friends who preferred to buy
from white cookers.
But we made a pilgrimage every fall to the Boley sorghum cooking where my Dad would trade a hog for a year's supply along with some slightly illegal moonshine, cooked up alongside sometimes. Us kids spent hours playing with our counterparts, a rare event in a state whose politicians were once all right admitting they were in the KKK.
“But when I was grown I went to work
for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Los Angeles,
helping African-American families in disputes with white slumlords in Compton and Westminster.
Sorghum helped me understand that people are just people and everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect.
“Wish I had some right now!”
Stories and a Recipe
Please keep sharing your stories, pictures and recipes. This is a recipe that I came up with combining several recipes that used molasses. Sorghum can usually always be used in place of molasses in a recipe. In some cases the use of the word molasses is interchangeable with sorghum because the name molasses is, occasionally, used for any dark rich syrup.
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sorghum
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 Tbls butter, melted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ chopped, lightly toasted, black walnut (or any available nut)
Combine egg, sorghum, sugar and melted butter. Mix together all dry ingredients and add half
to sorghum mixture. Stir well. Add buttermilk to combine, then add the other
half of the dry ingredients. Stir well
and pour into a full size loaf pan. Bake
at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. Remove
loaf from pan after it has cooled for 10 minutes, then cool completely before
enclosing in a bag or wrapping with plastic.