A bunch of grapes
The Cherished Indigenous Grape Dumpling Dessert That Has A Rich History
By Elias Nash
Grape dumplings, or panki' alhfola' from the Chickasaw language, are a centuries-old treat that originated with the Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Choctaw tribes of the southeastern U.S.
The dumplings are made from a thinly rolled dough cut into pieces and boiled in grape juice and sugar. This process infuses them with flavor and turns the juice into a thick syrup.
They were originally made from cornmeal, but due to colonization and European wheat imports, many cooks shifted from using cornmeal to flour for a sweeter result.
The sauce was originally made from freshly-juiced possum grapes, which have a unique, tangy flavor and grow in present-day Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
This region was once home to the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee tribes before they were driven west after President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830.
Known as the Trail of Tears, the Chickasaw Nation refers to this event as the darkest in their history, and it took a heavy toll on their cultural traditions.
After the Indigenous tribes landed in Oklahoma, possum grapes were substituted for store-bought grape juice. Possum grapes are rarely used in making panki' alhfola' today.