Clifton Poole visited with Jacob Bordelon, Kayla Blaylock, and Abby Huggins on his front porch in Cedar Grove on a July afternoon. Cliff is a HarvestShare member who lives just up the road from the garden. Here is a short excerpt from the interview.
Cliff: Food was, growing up, you raised pretty much, you raised most of the, most everything you ate except the wheat, maybe a few of the chickens, maybe some of the beef. Growing up, we raised a, we kept a garden going and we had peas, the beans, the potatoes, sweet potatoes. Trouble’s eating, you know. And, mama cooked pretty much everyday. And when she cooked, we knowed that she didn’t know nothing about all of those different additives people put in food that’s processed, you know, preprocessed. If she’d had to put them in there, we’d had to grow it, but we couldn’t have growed that stuff, that was chemicals. So, somebody has had to come up with those.
Oh, we even had a salad patch. In the winter time, where we raised the corn at, creases would volunteer. It’s like, the later years I don’t believe those same creases have been volunteering because once someone else goes in and sprays, they tend not to come back as readily, due to the pesticides. But, back then, we ate creases because everybody came and cut creases and we ate creases (laughs). We raised hogs too, uh-huh. That was our main meat right there, some pork. It was used for seasoning in the food we ate, you know, that required seasoning. Oh, that’s why we raised the corn too, for the hogs. It was of the field type. Animal feed type of corn. And we would raise roasting ears too, you know, its just a different type of corn. And I think it gets hard too, but, I don’t know what exactly separates the two in, oh. Got to be one probably tastes a little sweeter than the other. Because I’ve heard it referred to as sweet corn. Somebody said that, I didn’t know why, didn’t taste that sweet to me, but somebody did.
Jacob: What was your favorite meal growing up?
Cliff: My favorite meal, hmm. I believe usually, it’s either pork chops, fried pork chops and gravy, and then any array of vegetables surrounding it would work for me. Then fried chicken too, of course, you know. Got me hooked, you know. But, something stood out, you know, just stood out when there was, oh you know, country style steak, fried, with some gravy and those accompanying vegetables. Those, them got me hooked just as bad anytime, anytime you do it. I guess I’ve come to associate eating good, that’s what I think about. When we done killed hogs it would always be on a day when it was good and cold. Wouldn’t do it on a warm day. You would do it on a good cold day because you wanted the meat to keep. Because, well due to the fact that there will be less flies out on a cold day. On a cold day, I’ve seen (laughs), I’ve seen days so cold killing hogs, the flies just couldn’t stand it. I almost couldn’t either (laughs). But, some of those days there would be the first, you know, time of the season, that I would see those fried pork chops and gravy, you know. Mmmm. You know, I reckon it was that good for, you know, I hope that, I reckon, it made me feel like it was warming me up (laughs). But, there’s probably some more good meals that I just can’t think of, I forgot about.
Oh, there’s one that comes to mind. You ever heard of a creshaw? I seen mom take one of, take one of those, its not the orange pumpkin, its, this one is the one that’s green, like a winter squash, got the stripes up it like that and a slightly smaller neck, about that big around I guess, the neck would be, the rest of it got big outward. And it would be orange on the inside. My mom would make pudding out of that thing. And let me tell you (claps) I haven’t seen anything else that good, well, yes I have. But, ain’t many other things that’s edible that could hold a light to it cause, the thing here one of those tastes, it wasn’t soupy, it just said, ummmm. Make your stomach say ahhhhh (laughs). Oh, she getting you then, oh my gracious. Anyway. Oh, I guess I might have been, I might have been, be somebody that just likes squash stuff like that anyway. But, like I said, it's probably some, you know, but a few other tantalizing meals that’s, you know, that I considered top grade eating, I just can’t think of them right now, but, back then I could (laughs).