November 18, 2017

PAP-Porridge

Honestly, you've probably never heard of PAP, but I will assure you, it's a quick and a really historic dish. My grandmother, Edna-Mae, was Cherokee Indian and also grew up during the Great Depression. Somewhere along the way there's a book that talks about family on her side walking the Trail of Tears. If you recall, my family is in Arkansas and we also have family in Oklahoma, where my grandparents, on my mom's side, live. My uncle/aunt, cousins, second cousin, extended family, etc. still live in Oklahoma. Right on the edge of the Oklahoma/Arkansas state line is a town called Fort Smith, Arkansas. Fort Smith is the end of the Trail of Tears. My grandmother had it rough at times and the stories family tells about her is amazing. Her family, my great grandmother/father didn't have a lot and my grandmother would dig for used notebook paper and erase what was on the page so she could use it again for herself in school. I don't look at that as poor, but as resourceful and honestly, she was recycling before recycling was cool.

...I digress, with the family of my late grandmother being part of the Indian-forced movement and also being in the middle of the Great Depression hoarding of food, and trying to extend the use of food happened. And of course, more thought was given to the children and babies than the older children, or adults. So PAP was created as a makeshift type of baby food, since actual baby food was expensive and babies are finicky when it comes to eating. PAP could still be used as a baby food nowadays, but with the options and healthier varieties, it might not be the first choice. Many a night has my grandmother, and many others, during the Great Depression gone to bed hungry. Porridge has been used for centuries, different forms of it, but used nonetheless for a quick, cheap food option to feed many. Makes you appreciate the way the world has become and how it's easy for us to go and find food when needed. We make PAP at least once or twice a year and I think it's best on Christmas morning with pancakes, and reminds us that family history is amazing and we should be grateful for what we have now thanks to their sacrifices.

Here's how it's made-which is incredibly simple.

PAP

What you'll need:



5 cups organic whole milk (We prefer Organic Valley brand)
2 cups organic sugar (more to taste, if you like)
1/2 cup organic white flour (or more for desired thickness)
Ground cinnamon (We use Simply Organic brand)

What to do:

Add all five cups of milk to a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler you can use a saucepan full of water and a large bowl over the sauce pan. the point of the double boiler is to keep the mix from burning, which is easy to do. While making this recipe do not leave the stove, or mix unattended. It's a slow process, so be patient. Bring the milk to a small boil over medium-high heat. Don't allow milk to boil rapidly because it will boil over. Once the milk is at a small boil add the sugar and turn the heat down to medium. Stir with a whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about five minutes.

Once the sugar is dissolved add the flour at one tablespoon at a time, whisking the entire time. It will begin to thicken over time, so go slow and add the flour slowly one spoonful at a time. You can either have runnier PAP, or thicker PAP. We enjoy the thicker PAP in our home and growing up my mom's mix was a thick mix as well. Keep stirring in the flour with the whisk until your desired thickness is reached. Removed from heat and allow to sit for five minutes. Serve up on a flat plate one ladle at a time until you have a good amount of the plate. Sprinkle the middle of the PAP with ground cinnamon and serve. You eat the PAP by stirring the middle cinnamon area to combine while leaving the sides white. It's wonderful and I hope it becomes a tradition in your home like it was in my grandmother's, my mom's, and now mine.


Serve it while it's hot and enjoy!

Other forms of PAP:

-Version One
-Version Two
-Version Three
-My post from 2012

(As with any recipe, be sure to use quality, non-gmo, organic ingredients) 
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