Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grape Dumplings

I subscribe to the Haskell News, which is a small town weekly newspaper from Haskell, Oklahoma, where my grandparents lived for many years.  Haskell is about 10 miles from Boynton, OK, which is the setting for my Alafair Tucker Mysteries, but Boynton is too small to have a newspaper any more.

Last month there was a notice in the News that the Haskell Friends of the Library was holding its annual Wild Onion and Grape Dumpling Breakfast fundraiser.  This is why I take the newspaper - otherwise I would have missed this blast from the past  

Grape dumplings are a native Cherokee dish made with the wild grapes that grow all over the woods in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and probably the entire Southern United States east of the Mississippi.  We always called them possum grapes.  They are tiny blue grapes that grow in clusters, and are wonderfully sweet.  Traditionally, grape dumplings were made by boiling the grapes, mashing them, adding cornmeal until you have a thick batter, and boiling them in grape juice.

Nowdays, this is the way its done:

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp shortening

1/2 cup grape juice

Mix all ingredients into a stiff dough, roll thin, and cut into strips, or roll dough in hands and break off pea sized bits.  Drop into boiling grape juice for 10-12 minutes.



Marian Allen said...

These sound delicious! Are you not sorely tempted to drive out for the festival every year?

Donis Casey said...

I nearly cry every year when I miss it.