Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hog Killing Time.

Today I give you in its entirety, an article from a ‘lady correspondent’ to Dr. Cloud’s Southern Rural Magazine: The American Cotton Planter and the Soil of the South, (Montgomery, ALA, 1859.) 

Merely reading this made me very exhausted but exceedingly grateful for modern labour-saving devices, refrigerators, and local butchers.

Valuable Domestic Recipes.
Dear Sir: - I notice with delight your encouragement to lady correspondents, and wishing some information, hasten to do my part towards filling the columns of that department. During the long silence which has ensued since my appearance in your magazine, I have been from home, (which, by the by, is something unusual for Betty, but nevertheless true) and have, as usual, been a silent observer of what has transpired around me. I acknowledge myself surprised and grieved at the ignorance of young house-keepers of common every day affairs; I find they know a little front door management, but lack sadly a knowledge of domestic duties.
Now I hope they will not think me an unpleasant, grumbling, faultfinder, but will understand that what I say is from a desire of aiding them. With this in view, I offer for their benefit a few practical receipts, hoping they will give them a trial. Before proceeding to give them, I have several enquiries to make. I notice that Mrs. Linn obtained a prize for honey; will she not give your readers her management of bees? I attempted it last year, but failed, as the moths destroyed them. My next is to up country subscribers. Do they succeed in raising okra? I succeeded admirably in the southern part of the State, but fail to make enough here for family use, and am scarcely able to keep seed. Will any lady furnish me with a good receipt for wafers?
As hog killing time is at hand, I must give you a peep into the yard where Betty presides. Just imagine me, with a long wide apron, almost covering a dark warm dress, as I strive to be a great economist. I think I can recommend my apron - its size would put to shame the scraps worn by fashionables; a bonnet, and a pair of buckskin gloves, minus half of the fingers, complete my costume. You will find me seated near a large bucket, with a limb cut with prongs in my hands, stirring the blood as it is brought from the pen and emptied into the bucket, I stir until it is cold, add a little salt and set aside for use. Then Betty goes nearer the scene of slaughter, superintending the cutting, cleaning, &c, aforesaid lady goes rapidly from place to place, as her progress is not impeded by traveling skirts, and hoops. As all are familiar with the cutting up of hogs, I pass on to separating this fat from the entrails, this is cut off, dropped into a vessel of clean fresh water, washed out and laid on a clean cloth to drain; this mode prevents any unpleasant odor. The entrails are then cleaned and put into clean water, which is repeatedly changed for several days. The back-bones spare ribs, &c, are cut up, the skins from the back bones arc cut off, scraped, soaked and put on to boil the fat from them is cut up into nice bits of sausage meat, the feet and ears are scraped soaked all night and put on to boil.
Leaving the slaughter pen, I proceed to the kitchen superintending the numerous dishes that appear on the table in this feasting season. The heads are well and thoroughly boiled, then trimmed of nice lean bits as will make mince pies, which are superior to those made of other meats - the grissly portions are well mashed and seasoned, put into a pan or bowl, and a weight placed on it for hogshead cheese. The ears and feet, after hard boiling, are set aside until cold, then fried in a batter of eggs, flour, milk, pepper and salt. The brains are scalded, an egg or so stirred with them, making an excellent breakfast dish. The back-bones are either nicely browned, with gravy, or made into a back-bone pie. Spare-ribs arc barbecued brown and savory with vinegar, pepper, &c. Lights, hearts, and as many of the livers as are not wanted for immediate use, are put on, boiled all day, mashed together and seasoned for liver puddings. Chitterlings are after long soaking, cleansing and boiling all day, allowed to get cold, then shred up and served hot, with butter, vinegar, pepper and salt; this is a dish that cannot be excelled but by oysters. Windpipes are, after boiling until tender, served up same way. After the skins from the back-bones are boiled until they can be torn to pieces with a fork, they are mixed with boiled rice, well-seasoned, then thinned with the blood; the entrails, after due preparation are filled with the mixture and dropped into boiling water, boil them until when you stick a fork into them, grease will ooze out instead of blood, the links are then placed on clean sticks in the smoke house over a slow smoke, these are black puddings.
I find that I manage ray sausage meat differently from most persons. On a clean table is placed the stuffer and grinder, seasoning of sage, thyme, cloves, pepper, salt, &c, the meat, composed of nice lean bits and the fat from the back-bones, is placed off into small groups of about a quart in each, and seasoned before grinding, it is so well blended in this way, that nothing predominates, and has the advantage of not being so tiresome; then with the stuffer fill the entrails, tie in links and place them with the black puddings over a smoke, or make the meat out into patties and fry immediately. Take from the fit which has been dried up a few nice cracklings, mix with grated potatoes, a little sugar and eggs, bake in a pone, when cold slice and fry.
Last of all I collect the hair from the pen, and place on my Irish potatoes before evening. I venture to say not many of your readers put the hog to so many different purposes. Now comes the utility of my huge apron, dropping it at the wash tub, I appear in the family circle in a clean dress.
Do your readers have many dishes from the potatoe. I have already mentioned potatoe pone. Potatoe cakes are quite a delicacy. Grate the potatoes, mix with them several eggs, milk, and a lump of butter, grease tho oven, place them in with a spoon, bake with a lid, serve hot with butter.
Potatoe biscuit are also great favorites. Boil the potatoes, mix with lard and very little flour, make out and bake as usual.
Mackerel and potatoes: Mix boiled mackerel and Irish potatoes in equal proportions, make out into patties and fry.
Have you ever eaten an imitation of Macaroni called nodles [sic]? Break the yolks of three eggs into a tray, knead flour into them until you have a stiff dough, roll out in a thin sheet, rub flour over it and roll it over on itself like a roll of paper, cut it across in strips about one half inch wide, throw them about in flour until they will not slick together, put them in a vessel containing about one quart and a half of boiling water, when boiled done, add cream, butter, pepper and salt, or cheese, butter and cream. If you try this last dish, I think you will find it to equal Italian macaroni. Another imitation is to take a plate of cold hominy, a couple of eggs and a fourth of a pound of cheese, mix hominy and eggs well, then add the crumbled cheese, smooth over with butter, sprinkle flour and bake brown.
An Excellent Cake. - One pound of flour, one of sugar, one half pound of butter, six eggs, one teaspoonfull of soda, two of cream of tartar dissolved in a cup of buttermilk. Beat the yolks and whites separately, adding the sugar to the yolks.
I have already been too lengthy for one communication, but you can select what you think worthy of a place in your excellent magazine. Wishing you a prosperous ending of the old year and a brighter prospect for the new, I am, 

Yours respectfully,
                        Betty Taylor
Quotation for the Day.

`Hog's my feed,' said Andrew Hedger . . .`Ah could eat hog a solid hower.'
George Meredith.

1 comment:

SometimesKate said...

What a wonderful bit of useful information. But reading it made me hungry. Where's a pig when you need one?