Monday, February 18, 2008

I Am (Super)Woman--Roar!

I can't believe what a great day I had Saturday. I was up early, helping send Hubby and our three boys off to get started with butchering the hog Hubby had brought home Friday. I'll tell more about the actual butchering later, with pictures, but for now, I want to brag about my superwoman day.

After getting the guys fed and sent off, I started a batch of cookies, then a batch of bread. LovelyDaughter headed over to Grandpa and Grandma's house, where the butchering was taking place, to help carry "lunch" for the guys.

"Lunch" is actually "Faspa," which is a low-German term for a snack-meal that is usually served mid-afternoon, but also mid-morning if the guys are working hard. I should explain that we live in a Mennonite community because Hubby comes from a long line of Mennonite heritage and culture. We have his family tree in a book, traced a hundred or so years back, to the original man who immigrated here from Ukraine. Most of the Mennonites around here are hard-working farmers, but a lot of them also do other kinds of manual labor, like construction, roofing, plumbing. The Mennonite work ethic is laudable. And hard, outdoor work creates quite an appetite.

Anyway, in this community, any Mennonite gathering includes food-- lots of food. Breakfast, morning lunch, Dinner, afternoon lunch, Supper. And any time someone drops by, you offer food. Potluck dinners used to have a rule: Bring a dish for every member of your family. So if you had six people, you'd bring a couple of casseroles and desserts, some bread, a salad. It's not quite that bad now, but potlucks are still a display of plenty. Which reminds me of a joke:

How many Mennonites does it take to change a lightbulb? Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to bring lunch.

Okay, where was I?

Oh yeah. My big day. Butchering day requires mega-amounts of food. I made cookies on Friday, and bread for the family, but nothing else. So Saturday morning, I got busy. Here's what I had made by eleven thirty:

--a batch of bread
--a batch of chocolate chip cookies
--two prieschka bars
--a huge batch of tapioca pudding

Oops, I'd better explain "prieschka bars."

A traditional mennonite food is "prieschka," which is sort of fruit turnovers. You take a square of pie dough, put a spoonful of fruit filling (e.g., cut-up raw apples with sugar and cornstarch), bring opposite corners together and seal all four corners in the middle, which makes a "x". Then you bake them.

Now, several years ago, I figured out that it took me three hours to make eighteen prieschka, which took our teenage boys about eighteen minutes to eat. Something was wrong with those proportions. So I got the bright idea to roll out pie dough in a cookie sheet, spread the fruit filling on it, and cover with a sheet of pie dough. After it was baked, I cut it in to prieschka-size squares, and Wa-la! Lazy man's (woman's) prieschka. I called them "prieshka bars," and Hubby doesn't mind that I corrupted the traditional format, because now at least we get them!


I made two of those, one cherry, one apple.

And then I cleaned up the kitchen! I even had thirty minutes to rest!

And then I went to join the family, and help get dinner on the table for the guys, and then clean it up, and then, of course, serve Lunch (cookies and cake and rolls) in the afternoon. And then stirred the lard in the rendering kettle for two hours. And then take out the ribs, and scoop out the greva (cracklings), and pour the lard. And then rinse out the kettle and heat water to wash all the butchering utensils. And then get supper on.

Of course, I didn't do all this single-handedly. The women of the family were all there working hard, all six of us.

But then I was done. I mean DONE. The clock must have struck twelve and my superwoman cape turned into a pumpkin. I was so tired my extremities were buzzing, and I wasn't sure I could hold my head up to eat supper.

But I had a SUPER day, and I wish I could have that kind of energy EVERY DAY.


My Ice Cream Diary said...

When ever I have awesome days like that I secretly wish there were an audience that would stand and clap at my amazing performance =)

You go girl!

PrayerMom said...

That's a great story, although Mary will be suffering as she waits a bit longer for Part III of the ring story--we must send prayers!

As Colonel Hannibal Smith would say, "I love it when a plan comes together!" Your years of devotion to your chosen vocation of wife and mother are paying off in efficiency. Well done!