Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Meal Wine

Last week a reader asked about meal wine. I published the recipe in 2010. Here it is again:

Ocacoke Island meal wine recipe: Get a large crock, jug or clean trash can. Pour four gallons of water into the container. Add five pounds of sugar, four pounds of corn meal, three or four packages of yeast, a box of raisins, and some fruit (figs, peaches, blackberries, bananas, etc. work well).

Set the container outside where it can "work" for a week or more (it will work more quickly in the summer). Add a couple of pounds of sugar in a few days, and again a few days later. Eventually the solids will sink to the bottom and you will be left with a clear brew on top.

Meal Wine Brewing

You might want to strain your meal wine through cheesecloth (or an old lace curtain) to eliminate most of the ants. Fowler O'Neal always told me, with a wry smile, that sometimes when you get down to the bottom of the crock you might discover a drowned rat. A mainlander, Fowler said, might be tempted to pick the rat up by the tail and toss him into the woods before dipping another cup full of meal wine. An islander, Fowler assured me, would wring him out first, so he wouldn't lose any of his valuable product! Then he would toss him in the woods.

A visiting journalist who was invited to one of the Saturday night square dances at the old Pamlico Inn in the 1930s was offered a drink of Ocracoke meal wine. He described it as equivalent to drinking a lit kerosene lantern!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is my analysis of a sentence penned by surveyor Jonathan Price in 1795. The sentence reads, "Occacock was heretofore, and still retains the name of, an island. It is now a peninsula; a heap of sand having gradually filled up the space which divided it from the bank."  You can read my analysis here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/description-occacock-1795/.  

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