This week I’d love to invite you to take a peek at our annual “Wild Game New Year’s Eve” supper. It’s one of those times that everyone pitches to help with the meal and then is followed by activities and fellowshipping, resulting in one of those “oh so good meals” and rich blessings of family and friends. Thanks to Nate Zehr and family who emptied and cleaned their large shed for the event at hand.
By 5 p.m. the grills were being fired up just outside the shed and a huge iron kettle was boiling away with tasty venison stew that my parents and another couple had made.
Each family brings their choice of wild game and grills it on the grill. It’s quite interesting to mill around the grills watching others cook their favorites. There was a wide variety of steaks, burgers and, hold your breath, raccoon and squirrel. Believe it or not, the raccoon actually tasted good, Daniel thinks it tastes kind of like chicken. This year we chose to take along one of our favorites: bacon-wrapped steaks. All the meats are set out onto a table along with sandwich fixin's for people to file through and fill their plates buffet style.
Next to the wild game table was the iron kettle of steaming stew and a table loaded with veggies, dips, crackers and cheese balls. After that was a large selection of homemade baked goods such as chocolate and pumpkin rolls, cookie bars and cupcakes.
Oh, yes, the last table had hot and cold drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino, punch and water.
I’ll tell you no one had to complain of not having enough to eat. It was such a treat for me to sample all kinds of foods from the other ladies' kitchens. The dips were at the top of my list. Included in the selection of dips was what we call “Allen County Dip.” My sister-in-law, Regina, formerly of Allen County, Ind., is a whiz at making all of these dips, just like her mother has always been.
After supper everyone quieted down for a devotional that was shared by my Uncle Paul who encouraged us to value relationships and connections with each other as parents and children or even to others around us. Since the evening was about wild game he brought out examples of helping others be successful on their hunts and working together rather than selfishly being out for our personal pleasure.
Devotions were soon past and the next project was wrapping bundles of clothing in towels in preparation to be sent to Iron Curtain Ministries where they will distribute them to less fortunate people in other countries. The youth wrapped 30 bundles while we “young marrieds” got to play volleyball. I had a blast playing beside my husband Daniel, setting for him. Playing volleyball is a very rare treat for us so we enjoyed every minute of it while Julia and Austin played with other children their age. Soon the youth had completed their bundles and they were ready to play some volleyball while the school-age children, grades 1-8, wrapped 30 more bundles that will be distributed to children their age.
A few of us ladies helped the preschool children play a game and color pictures. This was one of Julia’s favorite part of the evening. After coloring her picture and cutting it out we brought it home and put it on the fireplace mantle in our living room.
The rest of the evening was spent fellowshipping and playing games and snacking on leftover goodies. We’re usually the “early to bed” types but since it was our New Year’s supper we decided to it wouldn’t hurt to get to bed later than usual. A little after midnight we finally left for home.
Here is the recipe for Allen County dip. We like to use veggie crackers or corn chip scoopers with this dip. Sprinkling bacon bits on top also makes this delicious.
ALLEN COUNTY DIP
8 ounces sour cream
2 8-ounce bars cream cheese
1 package taco seasoning
Mix first three ingredients. Spread in a shallow 9-inch-by-9-inch container and layer with remaining ingredients.
Gloria is an Amish mom, housewife and writer in rural Illinois. Readers with culinary or cultural questions can write her at: PO Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. The Amish Cook has been publishing weekly since 1991. The column’s creator and editor is Kevin Williams. To learn more about the column visit www.amish365.com/about.