When I think about the difference in the way I grew up and the way my dad grew up, it’s almost like we are from two different planets. He was born and raised in a tiny country house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. They raised what they ate and sold any extra for the cash they needed.
I was born in a big city where we had things like a refrigerator and an indoor bathroom. Our food came from the nearest grocery store, where my mom picked up things like the butter and syrup that we used on our pancakes and biscuits. And those things came from a box or a can.
Just one generation apart yet it was Venus and Mars. And neither my dad or I ever wanted to trade places with the other.
But Floyd Boyett of Kountze, Texas, would trade places with those who came before him in a heartbeat. We found Floyd with a bunch of other folks who think like he does, people who, if they don’t want to spend their lives back in the “good old days,” at least want to pay a visit. And they were all gathered in a clearing in a wooded field watching a boiling pot of juice on a very cold day in southeast Texas in 2010.
We soon learned that Floyd and friends were making cane syrup. They used ancient machines to press the juice out of the plants, then went through a simple but lengthy process to boil the mixture down into a sweet concoction that promised to be, Floyd said, the best thing you could put on biscuits or link sausage.
As we joined those time travelers on their trip to yesteryear, we had no idea what awaited us as the temperature dropped and the pot kept boiling. But I can tell you now—and you can watch for yourself—it was a trip worth taking.