Memorable Meals, Autumn-Winter, 2009. Part 1

Weekend at Katie’s Family’s farm in Pennsylvania – Late September

Bret and Katie were kind enough to invite us to Katie’s parents’ farm located in Berk’s County, Pennsylvania which neighbors Lancaster County, PA, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Now, according to Katie, Lancaster County is by rights the center of PA Dutch country but Berk’s County is ” DEEP behind the Potpie Curtain.”  I suppose this means that there’s some good old Dutchie heritage running through the hills.  In any case it sounds delicious. It’s where Katie grew up and where she and Bret were married a few years ago.     Katie’s parents Sheila and Walt (aka The General) were our gracious hosts who made us all feel so welcome in their three hundred year old house and beautiful farm.The weather turned out to be a little cold anddrizzly so the food was all about comfort.

On the way to the farm   Adam, Alicia, Shef and I were tasked with buying breakfast meat for the weekend.   Katie, the Pennsylvania local,  suggested we stop by a local gem called Dietrich’s Meat and Country Store to pick up some bacon.  It’s so great to have friends who know what turns you on.  And Dietrich’s definitely got me hot and bothered.  Thank you, Katie for turning us on to this place.

Simple, rustic and to the point. Just wait until you get inside.

Definitely not Kosher. But cheap. $2 for a smoked neck bone? Think about how much delicious split pea soup you could make.

Like any good story, this product works on at least two levels.

Scrapple: gray mass of various pork by-products and regional culinary specialty of Pennsylvania

when in Rome - or when in Lancaster County, PA. One pound of scrapple for about 10 people seemed right especially since we also bought bacon and sausage.

Breakfast meat purchased, we made our way to the farm where Bret (ol’ meat ball hands himself) and Katie’s husband was already making plans for his next meat project.

Bret gets ready to smoke some brisquette

Meanwhile the General, Katie's dad and Bret's father-in-law had got his 200 year old cast iron stove going. It's the perfect thing for cooking up gallons of soup.

This is where the wood fuel for the stove goes in. Also, by openig and closing the vents you can control how hot the fire is burning and thus the temperature of the stove. At least that's what the general told me.

That's a lot of soup! In a couple of hours it will be delicious.

Delicious soup. All the better for having been cooked in a five gallon cast iron pot on a cast iron stove.

what better way to enjoy the post soup glow than to put a clown nose on a helpless baby. Well, I guess it's okay since Giuseppe is Katie's baby.

So, after the soup, we tried to work up an appetite by playing a made up game of kick volleyball, using a badminton net and a rubber kick ball.  We thought we were pretty hot shit until I youtubed some vids of the thai game of sepak tekraw.  Oh well, at least there was brisket.

The gracious hosts, Bret and Katie, without whom we would not all be gathered and about to pig out on brisket.

Patiently awaiting pie and ice cream. Patient because everyone is already in afood coma from the brisket.

So after dinner, we lounged around the fire place and contemplated going outside to set off some illegal (maybe actually legal in PA) fireworks.  Instead, we all ended up going to sleep early.  More sleep means more able to take on the next mornings challenge of breakfast meat.

So scrapple comes with it's own cooking oil too, which kind of seeps out as you cook it. It really is the miracle food. It browns nicely doesn't it? How does it taste? Kind of salty and pasty.

Oh yeah Bret also cooked eggs because we needed more healthy breakfast protein.


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