Garden members learn about hog head cheese

By Oreta Wright
Sun Columnist
The Kildare Garden Group met on March 19, for a regular meeting. A short business meeting was conducted, which included a planned “day out” to Jefferson and a trip to a garden in Hot Springs.
The guest speaker was Nita Pressley from Hunnington, Texas. Nita had been given a Kildare Garden Group Cookbook and she saw a recipe by Christine Weaver for hog head cheese. She had heard of hog head cheese from her father and with him, they decided to make it.
First they had to find the hog head - the recipe calls for half a head. Next step was to find a pot big enough for the head. It was then cooked till the meat could be removed from the bone. Later they found out that some of the parts of the head should have been removed. She said the dog had plenty to eat after that first try.
Try, try again. This time they removed the necessary parts and added spices, etc and made the hog head cheese. She is trying to perfect her method and found many ways and ingredients that can be used in it. There were a number of garden group members who had made it or had helped their mothers make it.
The butcher said that the hog head cheese could be made from pork, not necessarily a hog head. She prepared some with pork for sampling at the luncheon. It was well received. Her discussion was enjoyed by all.
Hog head cheese, or souse, is a popular food for festive occasions all over Europe and other countries. It is popular for festivals, Christmas and New Years.
Since the program was on Hogs, the decorations were of pink pigs and refreshment were of sausage quiches, ham rolls, pork skins, etc. Dessert was cake with a pink pig in frosting decorating it.

Recipe by Christine Weaver:
Hog Head Cheese
1/2 hog head
3/4 Tbsp. salt
2 pig’s feet
2 tsp. pimento
1 pig ear
1 tsp. sage
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup vinegar
 If you like, add 1/2 cup American cheese, cubed. Boil head with salt and pepper, onion, feet and ears until tender. Remove bone and chop or grind. Add pimento, sage vinegar and cheese. Mix well. Pack in a crock container and press with a weight for 2 to 3 days. Seasoning can be added to taste.

     Pictured at right is a cake decorated
with a pink pig.

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