Salting the Pudding – a good old-fashioned Southern story
SALTING THE PUDDING
(WPA Alabama Writer’s Project)
Written in 1930s
I never will forget one time Old Lady Simpson was going to have a woodsawing and thought she’d show off some by having puddin’ for the crowd. Course, she was bound to have a candy pulling and a goober popping same as usual. The puddin was extry.
Well, that day everything was a-hustle and a-bustle over at Simpson’s and here it comes on night and no puddin cooked. The old lady she’d done made her brags all around and she just had to have that puddin. All the gals – they was five of them Simpson gals – was as busy as a bee in a tar barrel, washing and ironing, primping and cleaning up the house like they was looking for a preacher during big meeting. So the old lady she tore out to the kitchen and started chunking things together to make that puddin.
Now, she was give out to be the best puddin maker in the whole settlement. But she was so mixed up that evening she plumb forgot to salt the puddin. Now your reel good puddin don’t take but just a tee-nincy pinch of salt, but if it ain’t got that, it just ain’t puddin.
Old Lady Simpson got the fire going just right in the stove and slammed the puddin in there. Then she rushed around a-dusting the cheers (chairs) and the organ in the setting room.
About that time it hit her about the salt. Her hands was that filthy-dirty she knowed she couldn’t salt the puddin without washing them. So she just went ahead a-dusting and a-scrubbing around, figgering she’d have one of the gals tend to it for her.
“Sue,” she says, “will you go salt the puddin? I done got my hands dirty.”
“Can’t, Maw. I’m greasing my shoes.”
“Sairy, how about you?”
“Maw, you know I’m a-trying to git this dress done.”
“Berthy, can you salt the puddin?”
“Jenny, go sat the puddin.”
“Let Lil do it, maw. I’m starching and arning to beat the bobtail.”
“All right. Lil, you run salt the puddin now, Honey.”
“Shan’t. I’m a-looking high and low for my hair ribbon. I ain’t going do nothing else till I find it.”
So the old lady she throwed her dust rag across a cheerback and went and washed her hands and salted the puddin.
Just along about the time the old lady got back to her dusting, Lil got to thinking how she had ought to mind her maw. So she sort of eased into the kitchen there and salted the puddin.
Well, she hadn’t no more than got back to s’arching for her hair ribbon when Jenny go to feeling oneasy about being so sassy. So here she come and salted that puddin.
Well, so help me, she hadn’t scarcely sot back down on the back piazzor and picked up the slipper she was greasing when hera come Sairy and salted the puddin.
Berthy always was the lady of the family. She didn’t do nothing much none of the time. She was propped in her room a-reading a novelty when all this come off. But if they was one thing that gal liked better than reading a novelty it was eating puddin. She got to thinking about that puddin and got into a twidget. By and by she got up and she tiptoed to the kitchen. She got there right after Sairy left.
Well, that puddin sure baked pretty and when Old Lady Simpson come a-mincing out with it that night you could just hear everybody sort of bend back and smack their lips.
The preacher had come over to sort of look over the goings on, so naturally he got the first helping. His face just got to shining and he said something about puddin was the best eating going. Then he took a whopping big jawful
When he bit down to kind of let the flavor soak in, his face looked like somebody had covered up the sun with a blanket.
“Upthem!” he said, and he grabbed for the water gourd.
Well, everybody just set there with their months full of teeth and their eyes bugged out. Old Lady Simpson sort of caught on that something was wrong, so she up and takes a taste herself. Then she knowed.
“Which one of you gals put salt in this puddin?”
“I don it, Maw!” all five of them says together.
“And I done it, too!” the old lady says. “It sure looks like too many cooks sp’iled the puddin.”
And nobody couldn’t deny it.
Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past
This book is a compilation of some of the funny and helpful tips from our past history. Some recipes and tips date back to 1770s. One or two sound a little dangerous and I would never try them myself, but I’ve included then in this book for their humorous and historical value. A few are useful, especially for our ‘green’ society today
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