Sausage stuffers and other old kitchen tools

Reporter in Residence
Monroe Mouse

2012_Nov_Monroe-Mouse
Fall is in the air and my routine has changed. It is time to spend nights tucked away in a cozy corner of the basement kitchen at the Mansion.

Of course I won’t find a fire in the hearth, but the strange thing guests refer to as a radiator will do to make my nest under. Many visitors also ask why the radiator is here. They need to understand that many things change over time, and that this was one way of heating the home long after the Strouds were residents.

Now that I am spending evenings and nights in the original kitchen, I have time to investigate other changes. Much to my surprise, I spotted two things that delight me. Certainly, these items brought back memories of years when farms were very much a part of this area west of the Delaware River.

Now, I definitely know that the sausage stuffer (wurst fülla) was not here before, nor was the meat grinder (fleischmuel). Someone must have added them to the Mansion’s amazing collection of kitchen tools. How appropriate that both are here for this time of year! It made me reminisce of autumns of the past and how important the farm was to early settlers.

There was always work to be done on the farm no matter what the season. In the autumn, after making apple cider, apple sauce and apple butter, salting cabbage and putting potatoes in the cold cellar, the farmer and his family made sausage.

The pigs were butchered and much of the meat hung in the smoke house to preserve it for use throughout the cold winter months. The “pork butts” were finely ground in the fleischmuel, spices added, and the mixture placed in the sausage stuffer. The cleaned intestines of the pig were used as casings for the ground mixture. The seasonings used to make the sausage were unique to each farm family and made the sausage maker known from the first taste.

Some of the sausage was canned for later use, set aside in trays that were then sealed with lard and placed in a cold location, or hung in the smoke house.

The exciting thing to know is that we still have folks in Monroe County who have sausage making as part of their fall routine. How do I know? One visitor to the Mansion recently was as excited about the sausage stuffer as I am. He related the sausage recipe he used, but course I cannot share it with you. It’s a secret! However, he did share a recipe using both sausage and apples — the perfect combination to serve guests on a fall evening.

Every visit to the Stroud Mansion leads to a discovery of something that the visitor did not know previously. I enjoy seeing first-time visitors and frequent guests experience learning something new when they visit.

Be sure to look for me when you visit! You never know in what corner I may be spending my afternoon.