By Dirk Thayer
The Star Herald
If my memory serves me correctly Brunswick stew dates back to the 1700s.
Early pioneers near Brunswick, Ga. started the concoction.
It began with mostly wild meat and many vegetables cooked in a large black cast iron pot.
They would cook enough to feed a large family and sometimes a whole village.
This concoction has been passed down in many forms and has evolved into many other type of stews.
These days people use mainly chicken and ground beef along with an assortment of vegetables and spices.
I think the early pioneers would have frowned on this because a chicken was prized for its egg laying ability and a cow for its milk.
However, I am sure a few roosters and bulls met the occasional axe.
There are some these days that use everything from noodles to crackers as fillers.
Most won't tell you their secrets.
I try to make one every year and did one this past weekend.
The weather was perfect, as most want a stew when the temperature takes a nosedive.
I don't know, but a stew just tastes better when the weather is cold, sort of like hog killing weather.
I try to keep to the more traditional type and generally clean out last year’s game from the freezer and top it off with chicken.
Most of the time it is a two-day affair because I boil the meat and de-bone it the night before and save the broth for the stew.
The next day I begin early putting in all the ingredients in stages into a large cast iron Dutch oven pot, cooked outside with a propane burner.
Thus begins the long process of stirring and adding all day, long enough to get that 'stew' look.
If you have made a few, you will know the look and the smell will be just right. Don’t ask me for a recipe, as I don't think I have ever made any two alike.
I'm not one to taste it throughout the process; I go by sight and smell.
This tasting process has not failed me yet unless my eaters are lying to me.
Anyway we had good fellowship, were able to feed a crowd and had leftovers– enough to freeze for another cold day.
I did kind of learn a lesson this time.
In a small way I compared it to the two ladies with Jesus.
One worried about the fixings, how the house looked and tending to the guest while the other gave Jesus her full attention.
Which kind of made the first one mad if I recall the story right.
I am kind of like the worrywart of the story and should be more like the lady that gave Jesus all of her attention.
My wife is more like her and seems to enjoy the fellowship more while I have a tendency to overdo it.
I am going to learn to not sweat the small stuff as much and enjoy the important stuff.
I was talking to a buddy the other day and the subject came up about "Lord knows I am not a saint".
I have heard that statement many times and have quoted it myself until the Lord convicted me about it.
The Good Book says if you are a Christian you are a saint, so I have changed the way I say it.
I tell folks that I am a saint; I’m just a little rusty and rough around the edges. My buddy agreed and I think we both fit into that category.
I don't know why I got off into all that other than maybe I am getting convicted again.
Anyway you can learn lessons in life, even while cooking a stew.
So round up some of your excess game meat, fix you a stew–-but don't forget to smell the roses and enjoy life--especially the fellowship of your friends and kinfolks, and thank God you’re a saint!
On the Porch with Dirk is a recurring article written by Dirk Thayer, an avid outdoorsman—“chef”—and storyteller.