When my great uncles decided it was cold enough for a boucherie, they'd
select the 3 largest hogs they had; called in the helpers and started the
outdoor fires and kettles of boiling water at 5 o'clock in the morning.
While they were getting ready sharpening knives, getting pots and pans,
etc., they also talked and drank early morning coffee.
At daybreak the butchering began.
By afternoon they had boiled enough fat to fill at least 2 50-pound
crock pots full.
They'd also make boudin, hogshead cheese, crackling, sausage, meat cuts
of all descriptions, and neighbors would come in to buy some of the
products. Some meat was salted to preserve it for later use. Some
sausages and meat were smoked, too for later use. Some andouilles were
made for gumbos later.
It was a busy, busy day and my mother also passed the remark, "Why
doesn't Uncle Tetin (Justin) butcher just one hog at a time and people
wouldn't be so tired?" It was quite a tough job.
Getting back to the bread--when we'd get home from school--what was
better than a slice of homemade hot bread with fig preserves or syrup!
Another big job in the hot summertime was to redo or rebuild the
mattresses. Why was it usually in August? I don't know--A woman in the
neighborhood came early one morning and probably did a few mattresses in
one day. First she had to rip open all the seams -- take all the black
dried moss to wash -- then draped them all over the fences (the cypress
picket fences that bordered all the yard). She washed all the ticking if
it could be salvaged and reused -- or she cut all the new ticking boughy
by the yard at the local store. In the afternoon she gathered enough
moss for one mattress and placed the moss over the bottom and proceeded
to place the top piece and stitch all around. Then she took foot long
needles to quilt the mattress. Later placed on the bed. That night we
slept on a mattress a foot high which quickly flattened out in a week or
so to about two inches.