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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

vittles - 4

Taking keyboard in hand, or at least on the fingertips, I decided to write another potpourri of words about combination foods.

One of the first sweet foods I remember participating in on a regular basis was syrup and butter - of course there was usually a biscuit involved in there somewhere.

In pondering this particular subject, I decided to do some intensive research - several minutes - about syrup and molasses, mainly because I wondered what the difference was between the two - if there was any.

According to my research, molasses is a by-product of sugar making and is separated by a centrifuge from raw sugar and is described as having a "robust somewhat bitter-tart flavor". Cane syrup, on the other hand, is arrived at directly with nothing else in mind except cooking the raw cane juice until it gets thick and the taste is about the same, maybe slightly less tongue assaulting.

A somewhat milder, lighter in color, syrup is made from sorghum cane - the highest percentage of this is from Kentucky. This cane's juice is squeezed out and cooked down until thick, much like the last one mentioned. I have eaten and enjoyed some of all aforementioned sweet products.

These flavor descriptions sent my taste buds into a frenzy with memories from my youth - so real that I had to go out to our local Bi-Lo and find some.

Having located and purchased this sweet semi-liquid, I brought it home and mixed up a plateful with the only butter substitute we have on the place - Smart Balance. It was yummy and very closely matched the memory taste of long ago - except we had no biscuits, were low on bread and I had to eat it on saltine crackers. Taste memories make a person improvise.

I do realize that folks up North make syrup from the sap of certain trees, but it's too watery to really mix well with butter - or butter substitutes - no offense.

Some years ago I also would mix syrup with peanut butter on a regular basis - now that was robust. This became a problem down through the years as I developed an allergy to this beloved paste - an almost un-American thing to happen to a person - and had to find a substitute.

The ersatz paste turned out to be tahini, but tahini and jelly sandwiches just do not have the same recognition factor as ones of the PB and J variety. This would leave my tahini and syrup combination even less known and in less demand. Not many people in this area consume tahini, I know this by the fact that when I pick up a jar, it cuts the store's inventory of it by a third or sometimes in half.

My body's allergies, while not massive, have forced me to make substitutions in some of the foods I eat - but there's no substitute for the love and forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus. ec


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