Whitesburg KY

Remember planting corn and beans?

Remember when you were just a little towhead growing up and all the things you did to help make a hard life a little better and how hard your neighbors worked too? I remember hearing that memorable “whoa, gee, haw, get up” all day long, and not too far away.

Early the next morning you could hear that familiar clack, clack, clack of a corn planter, as the corn was planted where the ground was plowed the day before. Or maybe you would hear two corn planters clacking in unison, which meant corn and beans were being planted at the same time. The beans wouldn’t work in a corn planter so the beans dropped into a planter one hill at a time. But still this was quicker than dropping the beans and going back and covering them with a hoe.

Remember when the corn or other plants were being hoed, and hearing that metallic sound when a hoe struck a rock? Remember the smell of freshly plowed ground which always seemed more pronounced just before a summer shower? It was always fun to take a salt shaker to the tomato patch and eat your fill of good old vineripened tomatoes. If you were lively there would be a left over biscuit to go with the tomatoes. But if there wasn’t that was all right too.

A plain old cucumber right off the vine could be quite tasty too, with a smidgen of salt.

Remember going to the lettuce bed and picking a pan of lettuce, stopping to pull out a dozen green onions and frying some sow belly, using the grease to pour over the cut up lettuce and onions?

Of course you had to have a pone of cornbread to go with it and a cup of coffee or two to wash it all down with. Now that would be fixings fit for a king.

Course after you had your fill of garden truck you might even find a piece of homemade apple pie sitting around somewhere. There is nothing quite like a pone of bread made from gritted corn. To make a gritting board a six-inch board about a foot long is needed and a piece of tin, and hammer and nails.

You use a nail to make as many holes as possible in the tin, then fasten one edge of the tin to one side of the board and cup it over and fasten the other edge to the other side of the board.

The tin should be the same length and a couple inches wider than the board. When the corn is past the roasting ear stage but not dried enough for gathering, it is time to make some gritted bread by sliding the ear of corn back and forth over the holes in the tin, which would have the rough side up.

It take time and patience but is well worth the effort. Use the cornmeal as you would any other all-purpose meal.

Well, I better get this cornpone in the oven, so that’s all from the funny farm till next time.

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