Passing the Torch

November 20, 2014


By the time I was 12 or 13 I had helped my grandfather make hundreds of gallons of his Moppin’ Sauce in the shed of our Andrews, SC home. One would think that I had the recipe down pretty good but the truth of the matter was that the ingredients list was only a portion of the secret. The rest was in how it was cooked, the timing of ingredients, temperature, among other things. Up until this point I stirred when my grandfather told me to stir, and I added ingredients when he told me to add them. Although many people tried to make his sauce, none to my knowledge were successful. He would occasionally give out the recipe only to get a call from someone who attempted to make the sauce but ended up with about 8 gallons of “slop”. It was for this reason that I had a healthy respect for his techniques and methods.

One cold Fall morning we were preparing to cook a batch of sauce. I gathered the courage to ask my grandfather if he would pass the recipe to me. Much to my surprise, he said “yes, I want you to have it and it is time”. I didn’t have a notepad to write on so I walked over to a stack of old newspapers and took the wrapper off of the Sunday news paper called “The News and Courier” which was published out of Charleston, SC. On the backside of the wrapper, I captured each step and ingredient in meticulous detail. Somehow this paper survived the remainder of my school years, college years, and early adult life to now. I think only by God’s grace it survived all these years.

Fast forward decades later to 2007 I decided to once again make the sauce. I found the recipe in an old box of my life’s well worn artifacts and unfolded it carefully. The decades had given that once white wrapper a nice patina and the edges and creases were well worn. It was on this particular day that I noticed something printed on the paper that I had never recognized previously: “CONTENTS EXTREMELY VALUABLE”. Yes indeed. My grandfather didn’t have much in the way of material possessions but what he did give me was a true treasure which resides in our safe deposit box today to one day pass on to my children, Grace and Lillie.


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