One more thing>
Grist for the Mill, January 2, 2010
Chew on this
Grist mills were once a focal point in any early American community just 60 or 70 years ago (all the way back to 200 years ago).
However, in just these recent years, people living in America have witnessed such a rapid transition of livelihood,
such monuments of our history are easily forgotten; their relevance a ghostly whisper from the past.
In any town, village, or city across countries and across continents grains have served as a necessary part of providing sustenance and life.
The symbolism I would like to associate with grist mills of our early American experience is exactly that sustenance they were an integral part of everyday life.
They were places of gathering and community.
They provided fresh ground grain which is unheard of or almost inaccessible in this day and age.
The nutritional potency of fresh ground grain is far greater compared to what we find on the shelves of the supermarket.
Store-bought white flour is nothing short of dead
(ok, maybe a bit dramatic how about barely kickin?)before it graces our lovely tongues;
there are practically no nutrients left in this over-processed flour
(thats why it always needs to be fortified!).As a food activist, it doesnt take much effort to put the pieces together the agro-industrial complex has bitten us in the ass.
Its not pretty folks.
I visited Sciples Mill in Dekalb, Mississippi today.
My mother took me to this mill when I was in middle school.
I still remember the trip. We hung out with Edward Sciples, the mill man and he showed us around.
My grandmother and sister were with us as well.
I actually have pictures of us sitting in a pile of grain sacks
(my sister in I in peg-leg rolled jeans and baggy sweatshirts).At that time in my life, the grist mill didnt mean much to me.
It was one of those trips that my mom thought would be enriching for her children.
I had no idea what was going on at the time. I barely knew how to cook for myself,
much less ponder on the origin and quality of my food.
Flash forward about 20 years, and the grist mill takes on an entirely new meaning.
I am currently staying with my mom for a few months in Mississippi after living in San Francisco and Eastern Europe (and the former Soviet Union) for the past 10 years.
Looking back, I realize that much of my time and energy after college (and Mississippi) has been concerned with food and how I feed myself.
And, this makes sense considering the swirl of fashionable foods, diet fads, and ways of eating that I have diligently kept at arms length
while bush-waking through the world to find my own way of eating.
Jessica Prentice in her book Full Moon Feast writes about her troubled relationship with food as a youth
and how isolated she felt in her struggle to feed herself and feel satisfied.
She says that it never occurred to me
that all of America might be suffering from what journalist Michael Pollan would later call our national eating disorder.
... My mom and I bought some grits and yellow corn meal and left our money in the honor box.
I love the honor box.
I suppose Edward doesnt like customer service.
Why is this so satisfying!?Well, I guess I do know.
There are layers to this transaction:Thats why it felt good.
a native, traditional food adopted by European colonists,
a energy-efficient water-powered mill operating since 1790,
family-owned and operated for 5 generations,
and a locally produced food
(however, I dont know the varietal of corn genetically-modified??? dont know).
(By the way, due to a recent tornado, the mill has fallen into disrepair.
If any of you out there want to fund/help out with a great project
check into helping the Sciples get their mill going again!)
And, Ive been making tons of cornbread since this recent Thanksgiving due to an amazing recipe that has fallen into my lap:
1 1/2 c buttermilk (or kefir/yoghurt)
1 T honey
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
Stir this together.
Then stir in:
1 1/2 c corn meal
1/2 c whole wheat flour (or kamut/spelt)
1/4 c butter, melted
Cook in a round skillet at 425 for 30 minutes.
I would suggest mixing honey and butter together to slop on the cornbread.
Take my word for it
The first few times I made this cornbread, I bought Fully Belly Farm cornmeal from Bi-Rite Grocery in San Francisco.
... Heres a little poem written by Edward thats outside his mill door:
This little hamlet called Sciples Mill
Surely must have been the Masters will
Tho the timbers are worn from rain and storm
The turbines still turn to grind the corn
The water ripples as it flows along
The birds chirp and sing their song
It is so quiet, so peaceful and still
It surely must have been the Masters will
To have a place like Sciples Mill
posted on 08/26/2013 2:40:31 AM PDT
(It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
Thank you for a great read to start the week!
posted on 08/26/2013 3:18:50 AM PDT
(Freedom's On The March - Wave Goodbye!)
Thanks for the interesting link and story.
I had never heard of it.
My family has owned/operated farms in this county since 1889, so I have respect for things like this.
We have no water power, this part of Texas is normally pretty dry. Of late very dry.
A side note: my great great grandfather had a mill for livestock feed. It was wind powered and place on the 2nd floor of his barn. When the wind got high enough he would call the family out of the field to grind feed in the mill. I never saw that mill, but my father talks about it occassionally.
We are in the planting seed business. Primarily wheat. We have a seed cleaning and processing plant that my father built. It is not simple, not new, but works very well.
In the beginning we put the seed up in bags. For the past few years we only sold seed in bulk, typically in grain cart size loads.
Again, thank for the article and pic.
My sister gave me 10 bag of their meal as a gift. Good stuff !!
posted on 08/26/2013 10:38:24 AM PDT
(There is no septic system so vile, so filthy, the left won't drink from to further their agenda)
To: Yosemitest; WKB
Wow! What memories!
My parents used to go to DeKalb to get fresh meal.
My daddy was good friends with Sen. Stennis.
In the late 60s, a band from DeKalb played at a club in Meridian. I wondered why the lead singer was looking at me with daggers in his eyes. It turned out that I looked just like his girlfriend, who happened to be in the brother of my best friends wedding. When I saw the wedding pics, it was apparent.
Thank you so much for this post.
BTW, my family got their land from the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Missippy. ;o)
We’ve built a lake house outside of Meridian, and are in the process of going home....again.
One more thing.....there is no cornbread better than Martha White unless you have fresh meal.
posted on 08/27/2013 11:51:18 PM PDT
(To the GOPe ~ I'm now a proud member of the Wacko Bird party.)
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