EDITOR’S DISCUSSION: I could have posted some photos of steer butchering but, honestly, the ones I got ended up being too graphic to share, so I decided on solar stuff. Solar and wind energy is becoming more more common among the Amish, it keeps them “off the grid” while allowing them to “cherry pick” technologies that can enhance their life (like a freezer) without chewing away at family life (like the internet or an automobile).
On the issue of butchering, I do like the fact that nothing is wasted…but, ugh, eating the brains?…I just don’t know that I could….have any of you eaten something unusually exotic or just plain gross? – Kevin
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Top photo is of Lovina’s new solar-powered freezer, while the bottom shows the solar-panels outside that power it.
THE AMISH COOK
BY LOVINA EICHER
It is 7 am and our six youngest children just left for school. I thought I would get this column written right away this morning. I am battling a bad head cold which kept me awake a lot during the night. It makes for a very tired mind and it doesn’t help matters any when I think of the extra busy week ahead.
Friday evening we butchered a 1280 pound beef. We are glad temperatures stayed cold with the thermometer now showing 20 degrees. With the mild temperatures during the winter it can be tricky to butcher meat. The girls and I plan to start putting up the beef tomorrow. Joe and the children will help when they get home. I enjoy the job of cutting up beef even though it is a big job.
We washed laundry this morning because daughter Elizabeth will go to work this afternoon. While Elizabeth is working Susan and I plan to get the tables ready for the beef. We want to get everything ready today so we can tackle the big job tomorrow. Hopefully by then I will be feeling better as well. I will do some canning but not as much as I used to. It is so much easier to freeze everything. I like canned beef chunks for soups and canned hamburger for casseroles. The sun is shining brightly already but next week it will be an hour later with the time change. I always like to see the sun come out but even more now that we have the solar-panels to run our freezer.
We want to see how much room we have in the freezer after the beef is done. If we have enough room we might butcher a hog or two yet if the weather stays cold enough. I still have a few bags of sausage left in the freezer from last year. I mostly use the sausage in chili soup and in making gravy. Also I use sausage in casseroles or pizzas sometime. A person can’t be thankful enough when there is plenty of meat in the house for another year. And before we know it gardening time will be here again. The garden also helps fill the jars with food. God has been good to us but let us not forget to take time to thank Him for our blessings.
Our thoughts and prayers go to the families hit by the tornadoes last week. We wish them God’s blessings in their recovery and rebuilding. Although we were not in the area of the tornadoes one of the big red oak trees in our yard uprooted during a windstorm. We are very thankful the children were not home at the time because they could have been playing in the front yard. That night it was a nice sunny evening with temperatures in the upper 60s.
Yesterday we had a nice surprise visit from Joe’s Uncle Solomon in Ohio. Joe’s cousin’s son Ben was also along. The girls and I were making breakfast so we had them eat breakfast with us. On the menu was eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, Swiss and Colby cheese, fried brains I fixed from beef we butchered. Uncle Solomon helped Joe eat them. I dip them in egg and roll them in flour and then fry them. They come out looking just like a chicken breast, you could fool someone it looks so much like chicken. I never tasted them and I don’t think I want to, but Joe likes them. I told Joe I am glad that is over with for another year. Three boys tasted the brains and said they were good but none of them asked for seconds. The highlight of butchering beef for our family is having rare beef again. It is steak sliced real thin and deep-fried a few seconds on each side. Grandpa Graber added a lot of pepper to it and Mom also peppered hers a lot. Joe and I like ours very peppery but the children just a little. So I fry one stack with a lot of pepper and another stack with less for the children.
Last week Jacob, Emma, Joe, and I attended the viewing of a second cousin in a nearby community. He was a bishop in that community and 69 years old. Our sympathy goes to the family.
With it being beef butchering time I thought I’d share this recipe which makes for a good casserole.
BEEF CHUNK CASSEROLE
1 pound canned beef chunks
2 cups milk
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
6 slices of bread, cubed
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 quart corn
1 cup grated cheese
Place cooked meat in a baking dish. Beat eggs, milk, salt,and add broken up bread, corn, and onions. Pour on top of the meat. Melt butter and pour over top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle cheese over all and bake until cheese melts.