If you like to know what you are eating, have your sausage meat prepared at home or by some one whom you can trust. Of sweet fresh pork take one third fat and two thirds lean, and chop fine, or have it ground by your butcher. Season highly with salt, pepper, and sage (use the whole sage; dry, pound, and sift it). Mix thoroughly. Make cotton bags, one yard long and four inches wide. Dip them in strong salt and water, and dry before filling. Crowd the meat into the bags closely, pressing it with a pestle or potato-masher. Tie the bag tightly and keep in a cool place. When wanted for use, turn the end of the bag back, and cut off the meat in half-inch slices, and cook in a frying-pan till brown. Core and quarter several apples, and fry in the hot fat and serve with the sausages.
A safe rule in seasoning sausage meat is one even table-spoonful of salt, one teaspoonful of sifted sage, and a scant half-teaspoonful of white pepper to each pound of meat.
Take the gristly part of the pig's head, but not the fat; also the ears and feet. Remove the hard part from the feet. Scald or singe the hairs, soak in warm water, and scrape thoroughly. Let them remain in salt and water for ten hours. Scrape, and clean again, and put them a second time in freshly salted water. With proper care they will be perfectly clean. Put them in a kettle and cover with cold water; skim when it begins to boil; set back and let it simmer till the bones slip out easily. Skim out the meat, and remove the hard gristle, bones, and any superfluous fat. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar, and pack in stone jars. When hard, cut in slices, and brown in the oven.
Prepare the same as souse, omitting the vinegar, and season with sage. Put into a strainer cloth, and press out the fat. Pack it in jars or moulds. Serve cold, or brown slightly in a frying-pan.
Though seldom seen on modern tables, these dishes when carefully prepared are very acceptable to many who have pleasant recollections of them as served at "grandmother's table."
Cut the leaves into small pieces; remove all flesh and membrane; put a few pieces in a kettle on the back of the stove, and when they are heated through, put in the remainder. Cook slowly until the scraps are crisp; strain through a fine cloth into tin pails or pans, and press that obtained from the scraps into a separate pail. Never put water with the leaves, as the object is to expel that which they already contain, and there is no danger of burning if only a few pieces be put in at first, and the kettle be not over the hot fire. The kettle should not be covered until the scraps are crisp; then cover it, and if no steam condenses on the cover, the water is evaporated.
Soak one quart of pea beans in cold water over night. In the morning put them into fresh cold water, and simmer till soft enough to pierce with a pin, being careful not to let them boil enough to break. If you like, boil one onion with them. When soft, turn them into a colander, and pour cold water through them. Place them with the onion in a bean-pot. Pour boiling water over one quarter of a pound of salt pork, part fat and part lean; scrape the rind till white. Cut the rind in half-inch strips; bury the pork in the beans, leaving only the rind exposed. Mix one teaspoonful of salt - more, if the pork is not very salt -and one teaspoonful of mustard with one quarter of a cup of molasses. Fill the cup with hot water, and when well mixed pour it over the beans; add enough more water to cover them. Keep them covered with water until the last hour; then lift the pork to the surface and let it crisp. Bake eight hours in a moderate oven. Use more salt and one third of a cup of butter if you dislike pork, or use half a pound of fat and lean corned beef.
The mustard gives the beans a delicious flavor, and also renders them more wholesome. Many add a tea-spoonful of soda to the water in which the beans are boiled, to destroy the acid in the skin of the beans. Yellow-eyed beans and Lima beans are also good when baked.
Much of the excellence of baked beans depends upon the bean-pot. It should be earthen, with a narrow mouth and bulging sides. This shape is seldom found outside of New England, and is said to have been modelled after the Assyrian pots. In spite of the slurs against" Boston Baked Beans" it is often remarked that strangers enjoy them as much as natives; and many a New England bean-pot has been carried to the extreme South and West, that people there might have "baked beans" in perfection. They afford a nutritious and cheap food for people who labor in the open air.
Clean and scrape the rind of one quarter of a pound of fat salt pork. Put it on to boil in two quarts of cold water. Put with it any remnants of cold roast pork or pork chops, first removing any burned parts; or yon may use one pound of fresh, uncooked pork, or only the salt pork, if you prefer. After it has stewed for an hour, skim off the fat. Wash and scrape two large parsnips, cut them in inch slices, and add them to the stew; add, also, one small onion, sliced. Half an hour before dinner, add four or Jive potatoes, cut in small pieces, and parboiled five minutes. When done, skim out the meat and vegetables, thicken the liquor with flour and water, add more salt and pepper, if necessary, cook ten minutes longer, then pour it over the meat.