When you think of the South and food a lot of different things come to mind. Cat head biscuits, biscuits and gravy, biscuits covered in butter and honey, corn pone, fried chicken, grits, watermelon with salt, collard greens, pecan pie, and of course sweet tea. (I know tea isn’t typically a food, but when you have enough sugar in it to float a horse it’s a food). And I’m sure there are more, but right now my mind is on something that most don’t think about. And maybe not really be a “Southern” food. But when you taste it and close your eyes it taste just like the Appalachian mountains. This my friends is the scupadine.
(Now these aren’t actually scupadines but muscadines. They are basically the same things but scupadines are a variety of muscadine that are light green in color. I would be showing you both but, . . . . I finished them all off this morning.)
This morning I woke up to an email newsletter from one of my favorite Southern writers, and she was talking about this Southern mountain jewel. I thought the timing was just uncanny, and had to write an email telling her so.
You see, just last night I was sharing some scupadines and muscadines with my husband. He had never had them before, so I had to explain just the right way to eat them. The muscadine is very much like a grape, but being native to the Southeast it is adapted to our hot summers. In other words, they are a little thick skinned. The fruit is about quarter sized and unlike the grape, you can’t just pop them in your mouth and eat them. While the fruit is sweet, the outside skin is thick and very bitter. Just like most things, some people enjoy the hulls. I think the best way is to bit down on them and squish the fruit out, being mindful of the seeds and making sure to get all the juice.
As I was eating them, my mind went back to something else the above author had sent me after I had shared another commonality with her. She wrote back saying “We country girls are all alike, aren't we???” I’m not sure what made me think of that, except that as I stood there in my kitchen as I was cleaning, barefoot and with music blaring and my eyes closed, I could taste the mountains. Part bitter, part sweet, and hard work. I could taste home.
And then I found this song. Perfect! And if this is true, then I guess us country girls are all alike.
So tell me, have you ever had a scupadine or muscadine? What are the foods that remind you of home?