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Granddad Sampson’s honey punch

honey punch

Three bottles of our own honey punch, with handmade labels by someone who is just mastering the art of the lower case letter.

Today was the Harvest Day Pot Luck afternoon snack party at my daughter’s school. My co-class parent and I (Yep, you heard that right… I am a class parent…) decided that it would be great if the things people brought in somehow reflected their cultural heritage, since the class looks like a mini United Nations.

So I, of course, turned to the deep south and my all time favorite soul food cookbook which just happens to be the work of close family friends: Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine. Written in 1978 by Norma Jean and Carole Darden, it is a combination of recipes and family history, with photographs and long descriptions of the various personalities who’s culinary creations grace it’s pages.

We decided to make honey punch (see recipe below). Partly because I loved the photo of Granddad Sampson and he seemed really cool and all-knowing, partly because it is sweetened only with honey, which is something we all need to be ingesting during this cold and flu season, and partly because it looked like the kind of thing my independent 6 year old could make largely on her own.

It was a huge success– subtly sweet, without that crazy saccharine taste. The kids loved it straight up, the parents mixed it with sparkling water (though it would probably taste great with rum, too…)

spoonbread and Strawberry wine

The Darden sisters, on the cover of their seminal cookbook, in the late 70′s.

So thanks to the Dardens, for helping me to serve up yet another delicious treat. (Norma Jean’s restaurant, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread too, up in Harlem is well worth a visit) The book is out of print, but you can still find reasonably priced copies of it on Alibris. If you like soul food, you will love this book. I promise.

Here’s how to make the punch:

1 1/2 quarts water
1 cup honey
juice of 3 lemons
juice of 3 oranges
3 cups pineapple juice
1 cup unsweetened grape juice
1 cup crushed pineapple
fresh mint springs

Heat 2 cups of the water so that it is warm enough to blend honey into it easily. Cool. Then mix in remaining water, juices, and crushed pineapple. Pour into tall glasses filed with ice. Garnish with int sprigs. Makes about 3 quarts of punch.

Happy drinking!

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