My daddy bought a grist mill when I was about six years old. For those of you who don't have any idea what a grist mill is, as my girls would say when they were growing up, let me light your candle. A grist mill grinds corn into meal, grits, etc. The mill was a large contraption that had two humongous round rocks with a small hole in the center and they rubbed against each other with the corn between them. It was very, very noisy! The meal could be ground very fine, almost like flour, medium, and coarse. I don't remember Daddy grinding grits but possibly he did. As the meal came out, it was extremely hot. You couldn't handle it at that time. It went into big wooden barrels with a white cloth cover. My Uncle Tom usually was in charge of the meal grinding.
My job, when I was there sometimes after school was to stamp the brown paper bags with a black stamp stating how many pounds, texture (fine, medium, coarse) the name of the milling company and the price. The meal was place in the bags, weighed, top folded over a couple of times and string tied around it. Really high tech.....
Daddy thought he made the best corn meal around. Well, naturally he would! He then delivered to the local grocery stores.
With machinery, sometimes it tears up. Daddy would have to take the grist mill apart to have it worked on. Daddy was an early to bedder and early to riser. He was in bed by 8:30 or 9:00 every night and up by 5:00 a.m. The nights that the mill was being repaired we were up until the wee hours.....It was exciting to me........
A few years after Daddy bought the grist mill he built a large warehouse type building and added a feed mill to grind and mix feed for farmers to feed livestock. I remember the smell of the corn and molasses that was mixed into the feed. It smelled good enough to eat! Since he was in the feed business, he bought cows, goats, etc., to feed out and sell.
I remember while playing around in the building where the corn was stored in bulk, I lost my pretty birthstone ring. A couple of years later, while at school one day, I was playing with a girl whose Daddy worked at the feed mill and she had on a blue ring. I told her it was pretty and that I had had one like it but lost it at the mill. She told me her Daddy had found it there and she took it off and gave it to me. I will never forget her honesty...........
Most children couldn't have a horse because of lack of a place to keep them and feed to feed them. We had both but Daddy didn't think we needed a horse. Guess what? We didn't have a horse.
As I wrote in an earlier post, I came along when my parents were in their forties with five older brothers and sisters. One of my sisters and her family was visiting from another state . My nieces wanted to feed the goats and asked Daddy to take the paper off the corn! He got a laugh out of that.
We always had lacy cornbread, very thin and crunchy, for lunch and supper. The recipe is written below. When my husband and I became engaged, his brother said, "I bet I know one thing you can't cook, lacy cornbread." Well, there was more that I couldn't cook than I could cook but lacy cornbread was the first thing I learned to cook.
1 cup of plain meal (Yellow if you can find it)
Water enough to make it the consistency of thin pancake batter
salt to taste
A cast iron griddle greased (or teflon skillet sprayed works for me) needs to be hot. Pour mixture in--not very thick. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. I run a spatula under mine and flip it. You can use a plate. Cook another 10 minutes or so.
On a summer day, nothing beats Lacy cornbread, peas or butterbeans, fried okra, sliced tomatoes, herbed new potatoes, fried chicken or porkchops..........