A one-track mind?
Well of course, there are lots of things besides bread that are fun to make. Last summer, a neighbor and I cooked a pig in a pit.
OK, this one was his idea, but it was my back yard!
Maybe the pig feed stories should wait for a separate posting, or, even better, wait until this summer's party. Who knows what crazy ideas we can come up with this year? Maybe combine the bread making and the pig roasting and have a giant 'pig-in-a-blanket'.
Maybe not. :)
We also enjoy making various types of sausages. Below is my 1947 WWII Army field oven, made by Reynolds Aluminum. I was just a kid, and my dear old friend Ed and I were on a fishing trip. He was driving his pickup truck, pulling his flat-bottom boat on a trailer we had made from a rear trans-axle and some spare parts, when I spotted this stainless steel beauty in a yard sale. I pointed, mouth agape, and he knew by the look on my teenage face that I really wanted it. And at three dollars, I could afford it!
Being Ed, he had some first-hand some experience with crazy ideas. I think he even he had a pretty good idea what I was thinking, because he offered to drive by "the dump" on the way home that night to get some old stove racks. Of course, the dump was closed, so we jumped the fence and helped ourselves.
Wow, that sounds really horrible.
Let me re-phrase that in today's lexicon.
We saved some endangered stove shelves from a sanitary landfill and conscientiously recycled them.
Anyway, through the years it has been used to smoke carp, salmon, venison, turkey, duck, beef, eggs, just about anything you can think to smoke. There are many nicer and more easily controlled smokers available today, and My Darling Bride routinely encourages me to buy something newer, and perhaps a little smaller. But, because of the large size, and also the sentimental value, I keep this old veteran around.
My Darling Bride has banished it to the back yard, behind the fencing.
That's probably a good thing. Some days she would like to send me there as well, so I built a level platform for the smoker, and count myself as lucky.
There are times where, even if I have to shovel it out, it is put into service. Last winter, we needed to smoke the fall's supply of venison sausage, beer sticks, and some andouille sausage. For an experiment, some of the andouille was made from pork and some from turkey. It did not even taste 'healthy'; in fact, it was pretty darned good!
Nowadays, my nephew and brother in law are always ready to lend a hand with these projects, and I really appreciate them both. Especially since my nephew worked as a butcher, and my brother in law runs a food store. I could not ask for better partners in this kind of project, as we all have unique skills. For some reason, though, neither one wants the smoker as a gift. I've tried!
The large smoke box lets me smoke whole picnic hams, or even five pound summer sausages. It will hold several large carp, hung from the top.
This one is a clear casing, before smoking.
Maybe it is like bread making, in the sense that you get your hands dirty. Maybe, it is just the bragging rights you get from doing something out of the ordinary. Maybe it is that generations before us preserved part of the winter's larder in almost the same way. But most likely, it's just the good fun of getting together with family and friends for a cooperative project.
It is always satisfying, after the work is done, knowing that there are freshly smoked goodies in our houses. Yes, we could drive to the store or the butcher, but much like with the home made bread, it truly tastes better when it is hand crafted.
In the picture above, one clear casing was used to make a 'special' sausage for a buddy. He had been fishing, and he was unfortunate enough to have witnesses in the boat when he accidentally hooked a seagull...
Of course, we gave him a hard time for the rest of the year.
He got this light colored summer sausage for Christmas, and it was called a 'Seagull Sausage'. Sadly, I have never heard from him again.
His wife went mad. True story.
What are you gonna do?
Time to scrape together some pizza ingredients for this afternoon!