It isn’t honey, it isn’t molasses, and it sure isn’t sugar. Sorghum syrup is a homegrown Southern sweetener in a class of its own, with a distinctive and lingering flavor. In Sorghum’s Savor, North Carolina–based food writer Ronni Lundy takes an equally deep look at the lengthy history of this versatile Appalachian staple, which can lend bittersweet base notes to everything from biscuits and cocktails to curries and salads. You’ll find recipes for all of those in Lundy’s new cookbook, alongside passages explaining how modern makers distill syrup from pressed sorghum cane juice, and why they still bother.
One of the most creative dishes in the book comes from chef Edward Lee, of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky. When Lundy began work on Sorghum, her friends insisted that she include his recipe for sorghum and grits ice cream, a classic-in-the-making at MilkWood. Though presented in an unusual form, the ingredients are traditional as can be: milk, grits, sorghum. That’s breakfast in Appalachia, and the makings of a fine dessert, too.