Hog Butcherin'

My family has never been "normal". We have many unusual quirks like celebrating National Hot Dog Day (it's July 23 in case you were wondering) or eating our ice cream with pretzels instead of spoons. Perhaps the most unusual tradition is the annual hog butchering. My mother's cousins kill the hogs on a Friday, then Saturday the family shows up and we all help vacuum pack the meat. Now it helps that her cousins, Bob and Denny, were once butchers. It's an amazing process to help with and watch. At the end, we each leave with our fresh pork to fill our freezers. There are pork chops and ribs, shoulders and tenderloins, and sausage of all types. The sausage is amazing! Some is stuffed in casing, others is loose- which we fry up into a few patties for everyone to munch at lunch.

Saturday was the day we all gathered to make a lot of work a little easier and a heck of a lot more fun! It was also the coldest day we've had this winter (9 degrees as I left home). The cousins who were stirring the pudding had a cold job, but at least they had a hot fire. Those of us inside the garage were warmer, except when packing meat. It took my fingers a good 15 minutes to return feeling after packing pork chops and sausage. That meat was cold!

One of the perks of having quality butchers in the family is that you learn all sorts of tricks. Like pig neck bones give spaghetti sauce a sweet flavor or the availability of wonderfully clean pig stomachs for making this old fashion treat: Yummy hog maw!

Hog Maw: Pig stomach stuffed with onion, sausage and potato.

David doesn't know what to think of all this and still hasn't been convinced that it's "fun". But I take heart in the fact that Tabitha seems interested. After all, she did try multiple times to steal bites from her daddy's sausage sandwich.

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