With the mercury dipping down to 18 degrees in this spring weather, sister Emma and her husband Jacob decided to take advantage of this late cold snap and do their hog butchering. We went to help them butcher two hogs Saturday. It sure helps with the children being old enough to pitch in. With so many hands the work seems to go so smoothly. Emma and daughters had made homemade “breakfast burritos” for us, so we did not have to bother with having breakfast at home. The ham and pork chops were sliced and the sausage was ground. Then the meat was cooked from the bones and “pon hoss” was made from some of the juice and meat. We all enjoy the taste of pon hoss (editor’s note: some know this dish as “scrapple.”)
Days like today make me miss my parents so much. They were always willing to help all of their children with chores like butchering. It seemed they always had such good advice. Hog-butchering day was always a family day and everyone would gather early. First, dad would scald the hogs so that more lard could be made. Now we do it the easier way and skin the hogs. Skinning first doesn’t give as much lard but it makes the work load a lot easier. It took a lot more men to help when they scalded the hogs and dipped them into the scalding tank of hot water. I remember Dad would always get up really early on hog butchering day to get the water into the tank. It took a lot of time to get the wood gathered to get the water hot enough to scald the hogs. While he did that mother would mix the “lard cakes” that were made to have as a midday sweet snack. Along with that, she also prepared a breakfast for our family. When it was over today we were all glad to call it a day, but we enjoyed the memories of Mom and Dad.
Everyone is now getting cleaned up and the girls have their clothes gathered for church services tomorrow.
Son, Joseph, 7, had outpatient surgery to have removed from his ears what the doctor thought might be stones. It turned out to only be earwax which was almost as hard as stones. Needless to say his hearing is a lot better. We have put off having surgery to take out his tonsils. We will see how he does this summer and hopefully having the earwax out will help already.
We were all were excited to receive our copy of The Best of the Amish Cook, Vol III., It contains the first five years of my columns. Looking through the book it is hard to believe all the changes that just five years made. At that time it was hard to take over the column while grieving dear Mother’s death. Raising a family of six children and baby Joseph being only a few months old made it hard to find time to write every week. Making the book more complete is the addition of the children’s stories, poems, and their drawings. I thank God for giving Joe and I this wonderful family. This book to my children seems like a diary as are my mother’s Volume I and Volume II to me. (Volume III is available online at amishcookonline.com/books or by ordering over the phone at 513-849-9158. The book is $25, which includes shipping. To order by mail, send $25 to Oasis Newsfeatures, PO BOX 2144, Middletown, Ohio 45042. The full set of six softcover cookbooks, which inc ludes Volume III, are available for $85 through Apri 9th. All orders, including backorders, are being filled through a partnership with Amazon.com)
Here is the recipe for “lard cakes” that my mother used to fix. Brings back a lot of memories!
1-1/2 c. heavy cream
2-1/4 c. sour milk
2 heaping t. baking soda
3 or 4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
3 t. sugar and sugar for rolling
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, sour milk, baking soda, eggs and flour. The consistency should be similar to a pie dough, so add a little more flour if needed. Add salt and sugar. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut-up in any shape as big as you wish, or into 2-by-4-inch pieces. Cut a 21/2-inch slit in the center of each cake. Make sure the slit goes completely through the cake. Then drop them into a kettle of hot melted lard about two inches. Roll in a pan of sugar while still warm. Eat fresh; they stale quickly.