Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Sofkey

SOFKEY.

Sofkey (sofke), derived from the Creek word safke or osafke, is a sour corn drink or soup enjoyed by Native tribes who once lived primarily in the southeastern United States. Today, these tribes include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek or Muscogee, and Seminole who reside primarily in Oklahoma, as well as the Alabama and Koasati, who live mainly in Louisiana and Texas but also in Okfuskee and Hughes counties in Oklahoma. For most North American tribes corn soup is a common food, but it can vary greatly in its ingredients and preparation. The Southeastern sofkey is as different from northeastern corn soup as German cooking is from French.

Sofkey is made by cooking white cracked corn in a large amount of water that also contains lye made from wood ash. No other seasoning is used except among the Koasati, who prepare the corn in salted water rather than lye ash. The mixture is cooked over moderate heat for three to four hours.

The soup is eaten both hot and cold, using either a spoon or cup depending on the consistency, which can vary from a thin gruel to a watery porridge. Sofkey tends to be sour and frequently is considered to be an acquired taste. It is served in most any setting where food is shared, such as in homes and at various community gatherings.

Pamela S. Wallace

See also: FOLKLIFE, FOODWAYS, FRY BREAD, WILD ONION DINNERS

Bibliography

T. N. Campbell, "Choctaw Subsistence: Ethnographic Notes from the Lincecum Manuscript," Florida Anthropologist 12 (1959).

Charles M. Hudson, The Southeastern Indians (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976).

J. Ed Sharpe and Thomas B. Underwood, American Indian Cooking and Herb Lore (Cherokee, N.C.: Cherokee Publications, 1973).

Muriel H. Wright, "American Indian Corn Dishes," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 36 (Summer 1958).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Pamela S. Wallace, "Sofkey," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 24, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia