The second issue of Arkansauce: The Journal of Arkansas Foodways is now available for download, in PDF form. The annual journal is a production of the Special Collections Department of the University of Arkansas Libraries.
Nathania Sawyer, of the Butler Center, guest edits and rounds up a compelling group of contributions. There are pieces on old-line hamburger chains, spudnuts, poke salad and a really handy map of Arkansas Food Festivals. I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet, but here are a couple of highlights after a quick scan.
From Judge Morris Arnold’s survey of colonial fare in Arkansas:
Gru or sagamite seems to have been an- other favorite of Indians and hunters alike. This was a boiled corn mush seasoned with bears’ oil or buffalo tallow, often cooked with turkey or duck. Gru, Father du Poisson re- veals, was frequently used as a bread substitute: “A spoonful of gru and a mouthful of meat go together.” Most people would not have had ham and beef, of course, as Vallière did, but meat of other kinds was usually plentiful, since the woods and prairies were alive with deer, bears, and buf- falo. Buffalo ribs (“plats cotes”) were a favorite colonial Arkansas dish, especially those of a fat buffalo cow, a delicacy that gave Vache Grasse (fat cow) Prairie in northwest Arkansas its name. And the skies were thick, in season, with pheasants and ducks.
From an interview by Tim Nutt with Miss Fluffy Rice 1975 (Nutt’s aunt):
TN: Before entering the state competition, you were crowned Poinsett County Miss Fluffy Rice. What was involved in the local contest?
BS: There was a local contest held at Weiner High School and then the county competition in Harrisburg. There were three contestants. We cooked our rice dish, and I had to give a speech about what role rice had played in my life.
TN: Describe your winning dish. How did you choose it?
BS: The recipe for the rice salad dish came from Nadine Bartholomew, a dear friend of my family. It included rice, eggs, pickles, onions, celery, pimento, and a special dressing mixture. I believe I tweaked it a little in terms of the dressing. The judges apparently liked it.