Homecomings and Burgoo

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

–This was the weekend for Homecomings for the Patriot Quartet. First we had our Homecoming and Darrell got to be “home” and visit with all the members and friends who came to hear the Patriots great concert at Goshen Sunday morning. I fully intended to take a picture of the church to post on here, but I got so busy talking that I didn’t take very many pictures. Just took a few of the grandkids and of the Patriots singing. I’ll get that church picture on here later. It’s the church I used as a model for my Mt Pleasant Church in my Hollyhill books.
–So since I promised a picture and an extra post, I went with the Burgoo Homecoming at Claylick on Monday night. That’s David’s home church and where Joe preached for many years so it was going “home” for them. David sings baritone for the quartet and Joe sings lead. That church has a different kid of Homecoming. Most churches around here do it the way we do with a special service of some type, maybe some former preachers coming in to talk and then a pot luck spread of food that has everybody’s favorite dish somewhere on the long tables. But at Claylick, instead of that, they cook burgoo, a Southern specialty.
–The guy stirring in the picture above has a secret recipe that was passed down to him from his father and maybe his father before him. Proper, real burgoo has to be cooked over an open fire for hours and hours and hours. It’s a joke that the meat is possums and groundhogs. At least it’s a joke now. Back in frontier days when folks were hungrier and with no Krogers around, who knows? Now I’m pretty sure (note that’s just pretty sure) the meat in the modern burgoo is steak and/or roasts and chicken. There’s not much way you can tell what’s in it after it cooks all day. You might spot a kernel of corn every once in a while and you can taste the onions. I wouldn’t touch it when I was a kid, but I like it now. It goes with autumn – the cooler air, the smell of hickory wood smoke and men standing around stirring the concoction until it’s ready to dip out into people’s pans. True burgoo eaters don’t eat it out of a bowl. You have to have a pan with a handle brought from home. And your own spoons. That’s just the way it’s done out here in Kentucky. Crackers are usually supplied. I have to have lots of crackers.
–You might note in the picture, too, that there are a couple of men sitting back advising on the best way to stir the burgoo. You’ve got to have a few advisors to an operation like this. That might be a southern thing too. When I was a kid, men sat around in country stores and enjoyed telling tales and finding out the news of the community. As far as I know, the only place left like that now in our town is one of the feed stores. In the winter they keep a fire going in the wood stove and have old time straight chairs for the sitting. You’re sure to hear a few tall tales from time to time if you bend an ear their way.
–I don’t know if homecomings are typically southern or not, but I do know that in Kentucky we enjoy having a reason for everybody to come ‘home’ for a visit. Hope you all have some good homecomings in the weeks ahead and a beautiful autumn. October can be such a beautiful month.