We brought cattle or hogs to be processed at Welch’s Locker in Frankfort. Probably earlier in their lives, Dad and Mom did their own butchering. Anyway, there were boney parts like neck bones, etc., that Mom would use to make Guetta. Remember yesterday when I was talking about Mom and Dad’s pronunciation of words confusing me sometimes? Well, they made “Guetta” with those neck bones, but I always called it “Gutter” assuming that last “uh” syllable was actually “er”. At some point, Mom told us that the American name for this was Head Cheese……I can’t say that sounds any nicer. After cooking up a batch of it, Mom put it in a stone crock and stored it in the cellar outside. Mom would fix the same thing for breakfast every day until we ran out, then on to something else…like pancakes, that were actually more like crepes. That’s another story for another time! When we had Guetta in the cellar, a big batch was spooned out into a big old black frying pan, then heated on the gas stove until it was nice and warm with a brown crust on the bottom. As people came through the kitchen ready to eat breakfast, you would spoon a batch of it onto a slice of home-made bread….oh, and yes, fresh milk from the morning’s milking that was still a little warm.
I always had a fondness for the dish, although it was too difficult to explain to people who didn’t understand what it was. When I lived in McPherson, I once described it to my best friend, Wilma, across the street. “Oh,” she said, we call that “Knipp”. She originated from another German Lutheran settlement around Kinsley, KS and she knew exactly what I was talking about. Except, in their tradition you would put pancake syrup on it! Ewwwww…….not for me!
I’ve researched this a bit on the ‘net, and found recipes from up in Ohio and other German communities. We have a recipe that uses ground beef and ground pork in it, but the texture isn’t to my liking. This last winter our son-in-law gave us some neckbones they got when they sent a hog to be processed. So, my husband tried his hand at making it the old-fashioned way. Now he knows what I was talking about with the texture thing and he prefers the flavor and texture obtained from boiling boney parts. Funny thing…..he’s the one that eats this for breakfast when we have it, but his idea is that it isn’t served on bread but has to be accompanied by fried eggs. He just doesn’t get it!
Here is the recipe from the cookbook that Betty copied on tablet paper, then somehow it got pasted into the cookbook. I can just picture Betty telling Mom that we needed to have the recipe for this good stuff written down and Mom describing how its made.
Put the head, the heart, the tongue and other left oven meat in a boiler and cover with water. Cook for at least 4 hours. Grind the meat. The water that is left over from the meat should have in it – onions, salt, pepper. Then boil. Put in oatmeal and cook. Add meat and cook some more, stirring constantly. Add more salt if needed.