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Sautauthig (Cornmeal Blueberry Mush)

Source: Plimoth Plantation web site

A favorite dish of the Native Americans during colonial times was Sautauthig, a simple pudding made with dried, crushed blueberries, dried, cracked corn (or samp), and water. Later, the settlers added milk, butter and sugar when they were available. The Pilgrims loved Sautauthig and many historians believe that it was part of the first Thanksgiving feast. In a letter to friends back in England, one colonist describes how Sauthauthig was prepared:

"...this is to be boyled or stued with a gentle fire, till it be tender, of a fitt consistence, as of Rice so boyled, into which Milke, or butter be put either with sugar or without it, it is a food very pleasant...but it must be observed that it be very well boyled, the longer the better, some will let it be stuing the whole day: after it is Cold it groweth thicker, and is commonly Eaten by mixing a good Quantity of Milke amongst it."

Here's a recipe that gives us an idea of what Sautauthig tasted like. We call it Cornmeal Blueberry Mush but you can give it any name you want.

Cornmeal Blueberry Mush:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup cornmeal or quick cooking grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
2 cups fresh, frozen or canned blueberries or
    1/2 cup dried blueberries (see note)

In a 2-quart saucepan heat water and milk until bubbles form around edge of pan. Stirring constantly, slowly add cornmeal or grits and salt until well combined. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in maple syrup or honey until well combined. Gently stir in blueberries.

Yield: about 6 regular servings or 12 tasting-size servings (about 4 3/4 cups)

NOTE: Today, we don't have to pick and dry blueberries in the summer to enjoy them year round. We can always find them in our local supermarket - either fresh, frozen or canned, sometimes even dried. If you are using frozen blueberries in this, defrost them between 2 layers of paper towels to absorb excess liquid. If you are using canned blueberries, drain well. Fresh or frozen blueberries can be dried on a cookie sheet in a 250 degree F oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

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