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Delicious Pennsylvania Dutch Meat Recipes

  1. Beef RecipesPennsylvania Dutch Cooking from AlansKitchen.com
  2. Veal Recipes
  3. Lamb Recipes
  4. Pork and Ham Recipes
  5. Rabbit Recipe

To the Pennsylvania German, meat is a preference in their diet. During the pioneer days, rabbit, wild fowl, and venison were parts of the foods. In those days, they could not afford to butcher their cattle. Before their swine could eat their grains, to keep them alive, they let them forge through the forest of Pennsylvania. However, this made their meat very tough and stringy.

They had to neutralize both wild and near wild meat with onions and used their spiced vinegar to tenderize it.

Importantly cattle were important to the Pennsylvania German farmer. The barn became the first major structure built on the farm. Cattle represented nourishment and financial security.

Some of the old sayings included:

Cattle could become homesick - therefore you must not let the calf see where it is going after being you buy or sell. It will return to its former home unless its eyes were covered.

You must keep the cow from knowing that you are taking her calf away. It would best to cover her eyes.

You must leave hay must outside the barn on Christmas Eve, so that the dew of the Holy Evening could fall upon it and bless it.

Each farmer tries to be the first in the neighborhood to feed his stock on New Year's Eve. If he succeeded, he will be rewarded with sleek, healthy cattle.

He knows that the animals in the stable talk aloud during the last hour on Christmas Eve.

He knows that the water in his well turned to wine for the same period.

They set the first Friday of the new moon was set aside as butchering day. It keeps everyone busy from dawn to dark. The farm becomes a factory, and as on a belt, roasts, steaks, chops, liverwurst, sausage, bologna, scrapple, head cheese, pickles pigs� feet, and the like rolled off the farm assembly line.

Butchering meant more than food. It was lard, tallow, hides, and soap. What satisfaction the creation of these solid white squares must have given the early farm wife who kept the soap kettle always ready in the yard!

At any rate, the butchering proceeds through the making of brine and the preparations for smoking certain of the meats. Hams are smoked and side of bacon, beef tongues, some sausage and bologna are prepared. 

After their immersion in the brine, they hand the hams from hooks in the smokehouse ceiling. A fire of green wood burns slowly in the fireplace and is replenished to keep the same even temperature. Time passes, and gradually the mingled odor of hickory smoke and meat delights to come pervade the countryside. 

Since the smoking process goes on for days upon days and they repeat it year after year, smokehouse wall have a way of acquiring a patent-leather patina as anyone who has ever been inside a smokehouse remembers. The aroma lingers long in the solid walls, and even an abandoned smokehouse retains some of it. A smokehouse can be a nostalgic sort of place!

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