TASTY TRADITION TUESDAY

Today is the first day of January. It’s the day we welcome a new year. A year filled with hopes and dreams. It is also a day when many families will sit down to a tasty traditional meal. Some may have delicious sauerkraut and pork along with mashed potatoes and applesauce. Many believe that this meal will bring luck for the new year.

Today, we enjoyed a meal of filled pig stomach. Now, before you give a yucky look, let me tell you about it. Yes, there is a pig stomach involved, but it is just the casing that holds some delicious things, like cabbage, smoked and fresh sausage, cubed potatoes, and onions. Did I entice you yet?

 Many years ago, when I first heard that we were going to have pig stomach, I must admit, I made the yucky look, along with I’m not eating that. However, after I took my first bite of all the ingredients together, I was hooked.  A disclaimer is needed; you don’t need to eat the stomach. Although some do, I don’t.

You can buy the pig stomach at some grocery stores or from a meat market.  It really is not icky looking at all.  When I make pig stomach, I usually soak the stomach in a little salt water, while I cut up the sausage, cabbage, onions, and potatoes. If you are planning on trying this delicious dish, you will need to have either a big bowl or pot to put up all the cut pieces in. Make sure you mix the cabbage, onions, potatoes, and sausage together, then stuff as much as you can in the stomach.

I usually stuff the stomach in a roasting pan. After it is filled, put the extra cut up pieces around the stomach. Pour about two cups of water in the pan, put the top on and bake for about three hours at 350 degrees. Remember to check and add water as needed.

I promise you will love the aroma! The best part is when you take the first bite. I just know that you’re going to say,  ” Delicious!”  This has been our tradition for many years. I don’t know if it brings us luck, but it sure does bring the family together.  And this is where the meat of the story begins. ( a little pun on words)

My first husband, Lambert died twenty-four years ago of a massive heart attack. I was forty-six, and he was fifty-one. I loved him dearly and still do to this very day.

 After a few years, I decided I would like to have someone to go out to dinner with, go to the movies with, and most of all someone to talk to. I was not looking for a romance or even someone to marry. Just someone to start enjoying life with again.

 Well, God in His wisdom, had a different plan.  After a few unsuccessful adventures, and I do mean I couldn’t wait to get home adventures, I decided that was not what I had in mind. So, I busied myself, took a few craft classes, continued teaching, and enjoyed my family.

However, something was missing from my life. I missed the closeness my late husband, and I shared. We had a good marriage, and I knew that someday, I would want that closeness again. God listened to my prayers every night. In fact, I am pretty sure He got kind of tired of my chats. But, I did not give up.

 My prayers were simple. I asked God to send someone to me who was lonely, sweet, encouraging, truthful,  trustful and who would always treat me with respect. Oh yes, he would need to be romantic and loving. Pretty big list, now that I think about it.

Do you remember the Parable of the Friend in Need in the Bible? He needed a loaf of bread to feed a visitor. The man went to his neighbor’s and knocked until the woke the man in the house. He asked for a loaf of bread, but his neighbor told him to go away. However, the one in need kept knocking until his neighbor opened his front door and gave him what he needed. I was like the neighbor knocking. I kept praying.  The lesson here, don’t give up. Pray until you get your answer, no matter the need.

 Then one night, I received a phone call from a friend who asked if I would be interested in meeting a nice gentleman for coffee. Although I hesitated by the end of the conversation, I said, “Yes.” Long story short, I met him for coffee. We talked for a few hours. Then we decided to meet again for another cup of coffee, and the rest is history. Eighteen years ago, I married a wonderful man who was an answer to my prayer.

Sometimes families drift apart after a death in the family or a new marriage. But that was not the case in Lambert’s family. They continued to embrace me and accepted my new husband.

Tonight as I sat around the table at Lambert’s brother’s home, I thought, how blessed I am to know and love these beautiful folks. I have known them for almost fifty years, and the feeling of acceptance and love is mutual.  As I listened to their conversations, laughter, and memories from the past, my heart soared.

I don’t know if our meal will bring us good luck this year. However, I do know that the happiness and love I felt will last me a long time.  And it does not get better than that.

Wishing everyone happiness, health, peace, hope, and love on this first day of January and all through 2019.