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Neely-Dorsey: Hog Killing Time

In most Southern rural communities in days gone by the first cold snap signaled the end of summer vegetables and the annual hog killing season. Hog killings were a time for friends and family to gather.

Thanksgiving Day and the weeks leading up to Christmas were some of the most popular times chosen for this event. By then, the weather had fully changed and the meat would not spoil in the heat .

Hog killings were a neighborhood affair with several families participating to reap the benefits. Many families were poor so the meat and other products that came from the hog killings were what got them through the long winters. Hog killings provided for a wonderful feast during the holiday season.

Every part of the hog, from the head to the feet were put to good use. The process was a great deal of arduous work from start to finish, and it usually lasted all day. People would come from all around and everyone played a part in the big production.

I grew up in the country and attended MANY hog killings as a child. One of the main people in the area who held the hog killings lived directly behind my house. Every year from early on in my childhood, I had a front row seat to one of the most exciting events of the year.

The festivities began around the crack of dawn and continued well into the night. Most of the night-time activities were more socializing than anything. That’s when the cracklins were made in the big black pot and sweet potatoes were roasted in the open fire. Some people even popped popcorn.

I remember lots of stories, lots of jokes, lots of laughter and lots of fun.

a a hogkilling

Here are a couple recipes that we enjoyed then.

Crackling Cornbread (Cracklin’ Bread)

1 c. cracklings
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 c. thick buttermilk
1 tbsp. bacon fat

Sift the dry ingredients together and then stir in the cracklings. Beat the egg in the buttermilk and add. Have melted fat in hot skillet and pour in batter. Bake at 450 degrees until brown.

a a making cracklings

patricia dorsey

Patricia Neely-Dorsey is the author of two books of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems and My Magnolia Memories and Musings-In Poems. Through her poems, the author hopes to protect, preserve and promote the rich cultural history and heritage of her state and region along with providing more positive images than all of the negative images usually portrayed. Patricia lives in Tupelo with her husband James, son Henry and Miniature Schnauzer, Happy. The author has been named a Goodwill Ambassador for the state by Governor Phil Bryant. Her slogan is “Always, Always Celebrating the South and Promoting a Positive Mississippi ” Her website is www.patricianeelydorsey.com and her email is magnoliagirl21@yahoo.com.

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