Ma makes Hominy
Illustration by Garth Williams from Little House in the Big Woods
This weekend I lifted my nose from the grindstone only long enough to read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I found that there are passages I remember almost verbatim (They eat a bear; Mary wants a drumstick. The children make maple candy in the snow), and others that I had forgotten entirely. Among the latter, a detailed explanation of the making of hominy:
The first day, Ma cleaned and brushed the ashes out of the cookstove. Then she burned some clean bright hardwood, and saved its ashes. She put the hardwood ashes in a little cloth bag. . . .
Early the next day Ma put the shelled corn and the bag of ashes into the big iron kettle. She filled the kettle with water, and kept it boiling a long time. At last the kernels of corn began to swell, and they swelled and swelled until their skins split open and began to peel off. . . .
With her hands she rubbed and scrubbed the corn until the hulls came off and floated on top of the water. . . .She never splashed a drop of water on her pretty dress.
When all the corn was done, Ma put the white kernels in a big jar in the pantry. Then, at last, they had hulled corn and milk for supper.
Hominy hominy hominy!