In Our Backyard

 “With skillful knife strokes the pig was cut up in the most efficient manner.  All of the parts and pieces were then dealt with in an orderly fashion.  Brain, kidneys and liver went to an ice box so the veterinarian could check for diseases.  The best cuts were offered immediately for sale to our customers.  Lesser cuts and parts were saved for Bratwurst, Bloodwurst, Liverwurst and of course a “head cheese” or two.  I can’t forget to mention bacon and lard, as they were very important elements of our people’s diet too.” 

(Translated from “Mein Vater, der Fleischhacker”) by Andreas Franz of the Trenton Donauschwaben 

The “Schlachtfest” is a tradition rooted in the daily lifestyles of the past. Today it is continued as a celebration of culture, friendship, health and prosperity as well as an up keeping of culinary practices of our ancestors. The butcher is a noble profession that was essential to all ethnic communities. It is fitting that the above passage describing the work of the “Fleischhacker” comes from our friends in Trenton, as most recently a small but enthusiastic group of 10 of our German Hungarians attended their event.  

On Sunday February 16 our group arrived at the clubhouse of the Trenton Donauschwaben Association and we were welcomed warmly by the membership there. Familiar faces and a familiar atmosphere surrounds any German-American upon visiting the club of friends and maybe even family. We were shown to our table but of course we soon found the bar and were welcomed even more warmly in that area. Upon the service of dinner, the entire attendance was greeted by the sonorous orator himself Hans Martini. At his last word like clockwork the smiling, youthful, female servers in aprons adorned with the Coat of Arms of the Danube Swabians brought forth a bountiful meal rivalling the feast perhaps following Prince Eugene’s re-capture of Temeswar in 1716! Everything from the Sarma, the Brotwurst, the Liverwurst, the roast pork and Sauerkraut and of course the potatoes, served family style was wonderful. Fresh donuts came up from the cellar and coffee was poured happily. (There may or may not have been a post-dinner Schnaps with the Buwe.) We also had a chance to look into their up-stairs museum which was both interesting and informative.  

Upon the end of this fine evening a feeling of satisfaction was not only in our stomachs but in our dispositions as I think it would be hard to say it was not an enjoyable event on any level. As dedicated members of our respective clubs it is often too easy to become blinded by our own ambitions and trapped behind our own crumbling brick walls. In reality our own back yard is full of opportunities to share with our fellow clubs; to share with each other. 

Michael N. Fricker

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