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Butchering time evokes childhood memories

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I have really fond memories  growing up of my grandparent’s  back room in their farm house. The floor was cement, and there was a wash sink and counter to the right of the door. A big armoire stood directly across from the door right next to my grandfather’s big old leather rocking chair where he would take off his shoes after working on the farm. This room always smelled good to me because it smelled of my grandfather and soap. This was also the room where they divided up the meat  between my grandparents, my father and my uncle, after bringing it from the butcher.  They almost always had beef and pork done at the same time. I can still smell the fresh cracklings and the bacon mixed in with the soap and my grandfather. As I write this, it brings back such strong memories that cause tears to come to my eyes. It was a very special time in my life and one that I don’t ever want to forget.
Bob and I now go in with two other couples on a quarter of beef. One couple will get a whole side, while the other two share a side. We have done this for a third year with our friends and it brings back those days at my grandparents all over again. I get the beef tongue and, by golly, I am going to cook it this year. Mother always cooked it and I used to do the same. I boiled it with pepper corns, onion and bay leaf until it was fork tender. I then would take it out of the pot and let it cool until I could handle it with my hands; next peel the outer layer of the tongue off, wrap it up and refrigerate it. Once it is good and chilled, take it out and slice it on a diagonal to serve for sandwiches. It is so tender and tasty, too.
In this beef order we had a couple of packages of beef cubed steak, so I decided to make a Swiss steak for dinner. Once I had defrosted it and got it to the stove, I made a drastic change in the way I prepared it. I just felt the need to do something a little different. So, my friends, I give you
Salsa Swiss Steak
1 pound cubed steak, cut into desired pieces
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups salsa
1 can cream of celery soup
A couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
Heat oven to 350 degree F.
Mix the flour, taco seasoning , salt and pepper in a small bowl or pan. Dip steak into flour mixture coating each side well. Heat oil in an oven proof skillet over medium heat. Brown steak pieces  in skillet on each side, about 5 minutes each.  
Turn heat  to low and top meat with salsa, then add cream of celery soup and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well mixed. Cover skillet and place in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until meat is fork tender.
This was absolutely delicious, especially since I used my homemade salsa. I am sure it will be good with any salsa, so give it a try. I served this with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Corn with Peppers and a Green Salad. Since the potatoes were fresh out of the garden, they were especially tasty. You cannot beat an almost totally home grown meal. Enjoy!

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Lonnie Sundermeyer is a professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.