By Mary Anne Thurman
Slang Jang is a dish peculiar to Honey Grove. The legend says that a group of men in a grocery store concocted it for lunch one day. Its popularity grew until there were many people who had Slang Jang picnics at the City Lake. As a child, I can remember many weekends we spent at the lake playing and then eating the delicious chilled Slang Jang. I was a blue ribbon winner in the Slang Jang Contest during the Honey Grove Centennial in 1973.
Mix undrained canned tomatoes with chopped dill pickles and chopped onion to taste. Add a can of oysters, chopped. Add Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Add ice cubes to chill. Serve with saltine crackers.
Many people vary this recipe. Some add canned salmon or vienna sausage in place of the oysters, or in addition to the oysters.
Another recipe is from the Cook Book by the Westminister Guild of the Presbyterian Church, Honey Grove, Texas, 1922.
Honey Grove Slang Jang
Mix together two 3-pound cans of tomatoes and three 2-pound cans of oysters, 1 large onion, 2 large pickles chopped, add vinegar, salt, red and black pepper to taste, 1 large lump of ice to chill, just before serving. Add crushed crackers to thicken.
An article that appeared in sportswriter Tom Lepere's column in the July, 12, 1974, Dallas Times Herald, also told of the lore surrounding Slang Jang in Honey Grove. It detailed the recipe of Shirley Ausburn, who along with her husband, ran the Lake Crockett Lodge at that time. Her recipe contained raw oysters, boiled shrimp and crab meat.
I want to thank John W. Wilson, of Dallas, who sent me a copy of the clipping and the Presbyterian cook book recipe.
I received the following e-mail, which is very interesting. If anyone has any other history about this dish, please e-mail me.
Through the miracles of Google, I came to the Slang Jang/Honey Grove website. I would like to pass along a story that I was told as a child about the delicious red brew. I was born in 1940 and we lived in a little town in Oklahoma all of my childhood. During that period, our family had many "Slang Jang Suppers" made with your recipe. The story I was told as a child was as follows:
My Grandfather, Rial F. Crumley, came to Honey Grove from Tennessee sometime in the late 1800's. He along with someone else (whose name escapes me) ran a General Mdse. store in Honey Grove circa 1880's and 1890's. During that time, one Saturday afternoon, 4 or 5 local cowboys, who had spent most of the afternoon at the saloon, came into the store to make something to sober up with, so they could return to the ranch. According to my grandfather, one of them picked up a new, white, porcelain wash basin and they went down the isle putting stuff in it. They put in canned tomatoes, sour pickles, onion, vinegar, Tabasco, and salt and pepper. They got a chunk of ice out of the ice house, chilled it, and ate it with crackers. My grandfather left Honey Grove and brought his family into Indain Territory about the turn of the century a few years before Oklahoma statehood. He settled in a little town called Roff where he lived out his life. He was almost 100 when he passed away, and I guess Slang Jang was pretty much a regular part of his summer diet until he died.
At any rate, he told us that it was actually "discovered" by a bunch of drunk cowboys. I cant attest to the authenticity of it, but in the years since I have encountered a couple of folks that knew of Slang Jang - one in New Jersey - but both with ancestral roots in Honey Grove.
As I said, whether any of it is true or not, I cant say, but as they say "When legend becomes truth - print the legend!" Thank you for your time and attention.
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