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Article: Aunt Bett, Porky, and Lye Soap: I've been waiting for this one

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Forum: Article: Aunt Bett, Porky, and Lye SoapReplies: 5, Views: 58
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Brownstown, IN
(Zone 5b)

November 28, 2008
11:21 AM

Post #5837611

I remember butchering too when I was a little girl. Of course by that time we had been transported to Indiana. Ours was done out in the back yard and like I said before I didn't turn against meat but never did like the smell of lard. Can't use it for anything either. Lots of people have to have lard for pie crust but I can taste it in anything. Oh the soap making; I remember Mommy had a big kettle she would cook hers in ( I believe she used canned lye but seems like I have a vague memory of the wood ashes also; she probably used what she could get) Anyway we had nothing so fancy as a mold she just left it in the big kettle and cut it. Some of the "bars" had a funny shape. I don't think she did hers on butchering day, just when she needed soap.
Did you all make cracklin' bread?
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

November 28, 2008
5:00 PM

Post #5838226

Hi Indy,
I do remember cracklin' bread, and I remember eating it, but I also knew where it came from, so I doubt if I ate much of it.

And yes, there is nothing worse than the smell of lard.

Thanks for writing, I hope you are having a great day up your way.


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 28, 2008
6:06 PM

Post #5838408

Oh, Sharon! There is a story in my family about my great-grandmother accidentally drinking a glass of lye instead of a glass of punch at a party!! I believe she was already elderly at the time, but she lived for quite a while after that. Why lye was in the same glass as punch I don't know, but that's how the family story goes. They probably were making soap or something; isn't that pretty much what you do with lye? This would have been in OH in the late 19th or early 20th century. Thank you for your memory - now I have to make sure my daughters know the story of their great-great-grandmother and the lye in a punch glass!
Dayton, TX
(Zone 9a)

November 28, 2008
11:10 PM

Post #5838952

Your story stirred some really old memories. I know now, but didn't then, that there was a war going on, that my daddy and uncles weren't at home, and we lived in small houses on Grandpa and Grandma's farm. In my memory I can see the huge vat of water with the coals glowing where they dipped the hog. But Grandma wouldn't let me get too close. I remember her putting me on a stool by a bench on the side of the corn crib, and giving me a knive (probably pretty dull) and an unidentified portion of the hog so I could 'help with the butchering'. And the big iron pot where the fat was being rendered (for lard and soap, I know now) and Grandma carefully dipping out crackling and cooling it before giving me the treat. And the big old smokehouse with sloping benches lined with bacon and ham and other cuts, and the sharp tang of hickory smoke.
Thank you for your story. It opened a door in my memory that had long been closed.
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

November 29, 2008
1:28 AM

Post #5839338

Lye is pretty strong, I think it might do some permanent damage to a throat, etc. Maybe she caught herself before she actually drank it. And I wonder why there was a glass of lye at a party?
Thanks for writing, always good to hear from you.
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

November 29, 2008
1:32 AM

Post #5839352

Kenefick, exactly...same memories.
I am so glad that the door opened and you had an "ah ha" moment. That happens to me quite often. One thing leads to another, and I find myself standing around about 60 years ago.

Thanks for writing, I will be anxious to know if you have any other memories that are similar.

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Other Article: Aunt Bett, Porky, and Lye Soap Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Excellent work! adinamiti 4 Nov 29, 2008 6:47 AM
Wood ashes..... imapigeon 1 Nov 29, 2008 1:23 AM
Good One phicks 1 Nov 29, 2008 6:46 AM
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