Tastes Like Home

Joel crouching in Kentucky woods with persimmon in hand

Treasure from the woods

Do you have a food that reminds you unmistakably of home or of your childhood?  Maybe apple pie or fresh bread?  There are a few smells or tastes that have that effect on me.  One of the more unique ones is persimmon pudding.  Never heard of it?  You’re not alone- I have rarely had anyone recognize this southern Indiana specialty when asked.  But where I grew up in Mitchell, Indiana we even had a Persimmon Festival.  Persimmon pudding is the quintessential dish for that week.

Is There A Lesson Here Somewhere?

As I walked through the woods near Bowling Green, Kentucky last week, I was delighted to see a few persimmons lying on the ground.  That discovery set me on a foraging adventure as I was on the lookout for more persimmons.  I love finding these gifts in nature (Janette knows where to find me in the afternoons during wild raspberry season).  Like drinking from wells you didn’t dig or eating grapes you didn’t plant (Deuteronomy 6:11), finding raspberries or persimmons is full of grace.  This passage in Deuteronomy reveals that Grace has always gone ahead of us to prepare the way, to make a place for us.

Verse 12 says that the only payment required for these gifts is giving thanks to the Giver and not forgetting Him.  As I discovered a few more persimmon trees ripe with fruit, I was truly thankful.  It may sound a bit dramatic but it felt like God provided those persimmons as a gift that had special meaning just for me.  I even wanted to share that gift with the friends who were also on retreat.  That’s when Grace has caught us- when we are ready to receive the gift and pass it on.  I did enjoy persimmon pudding but enjoyed introducing friends to the taste that night even more.  If you ever find a grove of persimmon trees, remember Grace…and try the recipe below!

The Recipe

This is the one that my mom used when we were growing up.  While there are lots of other ones out there, this one tastes like home to me…

Mix in a medium bowl:  2 cups persimmon pulp, 2 cups sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1.5 cups buttermilk or sour milk

In another bowl: 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves (optional)

Mix two bowls together then add 3 tbsp melted butter and stir.

Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Serve with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream, enjoy…and save a piece for me!