Monday, September 3, 2007

Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap MolassesOne of our errands last Friday was to stop at the health food store and pick up a few items. Mrs. flinty was leading the way with me in tow. My job mainly is to push the shopping cart (thank you very much Mr. Sylvan Goldman) and to occasionally lift something requiring a man's strength, such as a case of Fiji water. Navigating the aisles of our store is a bit like threading a needle given the exhibits placed here and there amidst the bodies of the shoppers. It is a difficult task but so far I've been dependable if not outstanding.

Suddenly that lovely domestic scene was interrupted by my sighting of something particularly fascinating. I am easily distracted in health food stores. There are just so many interesting bottles and foods and what have you. But it was the Blackstrap Molasses that had captured my attention.

I said to Mrs. Flinty, "Do you remember blackstrap molasses?" to which she replied "Why do they call it blackstrap?" "I don't know" said I while stopping to inspect the various bottles.

I remember long ago in my childhood someone giving us some homemade blackstrap molasses in a Mason jar. It was very black and very thick and I thought it tasted terrible. But the adults were keen to eat it with hot, homemade cornbread and butter. This was still the day when the Crisco can sat in a prominent place in the kitchen and butter was actually butter. I remember at the time it was a serious waste of otherwise good cornbread ruined by pouring that black goop on it.

Blackstrap is just a very cool name. But what does it mean for goodness sake? Of course I had to search all over the Internet for some explanation of "blackstrap." Apparently this stuff now has health and medicinal benefits. Really. There are people swearing that this stuff reverses gray hair and cures or aids any number of other diseases.

So far all I know about the blackstrap part is that's what is left after the third boiling and extraction of the sugar from sugar cane. In other words it is the dregs of the dregs. But that's what makes it loaded with all kinds of good minerals and vitamins and stuff. So that's why it is good for us. And that's what blackstrap means but still I can't find out why it was called that.

Maybe my next blog title with have blackstrap in it. I kind of like the taste of it. It is certainly bitter for something that is sweet. I hope buttermilk isn't next.

Dad holding fountain pen while eatingDad was combative this morning taking particularly great offense at my audacity in wanting to change his Depends. It was a pretty good match and he got in some good licks. But once again I prevailed and we are sitting on the porch watching the holiday takers spoil the Labor Day of the labor givers.

I think he was up a lot last night but I more or less slept through whatever it was he did when he was up. One time I checked on him and he was just sitting in his chair. I feel a little guilty for not having stayed up with him but I'm healing pretty quickly.

He became particularly enamored with one of my disposable fountain pens this morning at breakfast. The photo shows him holding the fountain pen while eating his cereal. Notice the Wal-mart plastic coated paper plate underneath the Wal-mart Corning ware cereal bowl.


~Betsy said...

I never did like molasses, but isn't there a saying similar to "slower than molasses in January"? I think my mom use to say that to me when I was running late to school.

I have the same Wal-Mart paper plates. Mom eats her bologna sandwich on one every day.

It's good to see you dad feeding himself.

Lori1955 said...

Hey I have those plates too. LOL
I don't like molasses but I too get very intrigued by stuff in health food stores. I can't tell you how much stuff I have bought just to end up throwing it out later. Stay away from buttermilk too UGH. It's great in biscuits and pancakes but to drink it alone YUK.

arutherford said...

Oh Flinty, you brought back wonderful memories. I remember my grandmother making cornbread and my grandfather eating it with blackstrap molasses. Yummy!!

Then in my 20's I decided I wanted to continue my grandmother's tradition of making fruitcakes (the moist kind not the doorstops). I asked my grandmother how she made hers and she wasn't much help because she was a pinch here, fist-full there kind of a cook. So, I looked at cookbooks and found 100's of recipes for fruitcakes and tried some over the next 2-3 yrs. None of them tasted like my Nana's.

So I went back to her and prevailed upon her to write down, as best she could, her recipe the next time she made fruitcakes.

Low and behold, she put a small amount of molasses in hers. She put 1/4 cup of molasses in a measuring cup; added a tsp. of baking soda; whipped the 2 up until the soda expanded the molasses to about 3/4 of a cup and poured it into her batter. Delicious!!

Thanks for resurrecting those yummy memories.

flintysooner said...

Yes, Betsy, that is the adage. It is somewhat ironic because I learned there was a terrible disaster in Boston in January, 1919 when a vat of molasses burst and killed 21 people. It is said that the flood of molasses advanced at 35 mph.

I switched to the plastic coated paper plates years ago because of advice from another caregiver on an email list. Dad and mom were always after me about being wasteful and not washing the paper plates. Washing plastic coated plates is much better.

Lori - I just find it interesting that so many things I hated as a kid I now enjoy. I don't think that's going to happen with buttermilk.

Hi Ann - my mother made delicious fruit cakes and I happen to like them - moist ones at least. I did try to moisten an especially dry one once with rum. It didn't work very well for moistening but with all the rum you didn't care much.

My mother had a raw apple cake that I made once. My sister-in-law took all mom's recipes and is going to put them into a book for us someday.

Thanks all for commenting.

nancy said...

the good thing about your dad being combative with you yesterday morning is that i'll bet anything that about 2 minutes later he forgot all about it.

keep posting, i look forward to reading more and commenting when i have a chance. sounds like things are status quo with you both for which i'm glad.

thanks for your prayers for russ.

lavishwolf said...

this is beautiful the way you love your dad