Fall is here and so is a Hurricane

Fall has arrived and with it it is bringing a lot of rain and maybe a visit from Hurricane Joaquin. For the last week we have had endless rain and the ground is now saturated. If Hurricane Joaquin passes nearby, we are assured of 10+ more inches of rain and tropical force winds. Heavily saturated ground with high winds equals trees and power lines down. Not anticipating a fun weekend. Being that I have been through many hurricanes in my life this is nothing new and we are as prepared as we can be. At least I hope to get some interesting photos and videos of the storm which I will post as soon as I can.

As for the other aspects of Fall, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing colors and falling, and there have been lots of festivals. I am looking forward to all things pumpkin, along with lots of hot cocoa. Our church is having its Fall Bazaar this Sunday and as a part of that we cook and prepare over 400 quarts of Brunswick stew for sale. It is a LOT of work but we always manage to pull it off and everyone enjoys the fellowship. While I can’t give you the exact recipe for the stew (Top Secret), I can give you a list of the ingredients, except for the spices used. (Top Secret).

  • Chicken
  • White Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Bullion cubes
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Water
  • Fatback
  • Butter
  • Top Secret spices

We cook it outside in large pots with wooden paddles over propane burners. It takes 6-7 hours to cook enough batches to fill all the orders. That does not count the pre-cooking of the chicken, peeling and chopping of vegetable, etc. At $7.00 a quart it is a great deal. Wish you could stop by and try some. Now if only Hurricane Joaquin will go away…

Cooking Brunswick Stew

Twice a year our church prepares and cooks Brunswick stew. The proceeds from the sale of the stew go to the Christian Women’s Fellowship where it is then spent on various church activities and community services. The preparation and cooking of the stew is an all-hands, labor intensive effort while at the same time providing fellowship and community outreach. Our Brunswick stew is a best seller and we always sell out. On average we make about 300 quarts for saleĀ in the Spring and even more for the Fall Bazaar and lunch.

The actual preparation, cooking, canning, and sale of the stew is a two day effort. That does not count the time spent shopping for the needed ingredients, advertising, and planning. On the first day the chicken is cooked and then the meat is shredded from the chicken. At the same time, the onions, celery, and potatoes are prepared and diced. The other ingredients have already been purchased and readied.

The list of ingredients is as follows:

  • Cooked, shredded chicken
  • Cooked, diced potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Butter
  • Worcester sauce
  • Bullion cubes
  • Assorted spices (secret)
  • Chicken stock
  • Bacon, bacon grease
  • Water

Following a very specific order the various ingredients are added to two very large aluminum pots where the stew is cooked over propane burners, being stirred by a team of stirrers using large wooden stirring paddles. This is the most laborious part of the operation. The exact proportion of each ingredient is added in order and cooked to the head cooks specifications. It generally take 10 complete pots to make enough stew to fill the 300 quarts.

The finished stew is them measured into quart mason jars by another team. Sales and pickup of pre-orders takes place as soon as the first batch is complete. This usually takes from 6 am to Noon to complete, not counting final cleanup.

All in all it is a lot of work but well worth it. Everyone has a good time doing it and the proceeds all go to good causes. So tomorrow morning I will be at church at 6 am doing my part. I already helped with the chopping of the celery and potatoes earlier today. We are hoping for good weather for the outdoor cooking.

So if you ever want some really good, homemade Brunswick Stew, give us a call. All the stew for the Spring sale is sold but we will be taking order in the Fall. Our Church is

Park View Christian Church (DOC).

Everyone have a Blessed Day.

 

Guns and church

I got to shoot my new Saiga rifle and I am in love with it. My son Jason and I went to the range in Pungo and shot both the Saiga and my M4 carbine. Jason really enjoyed firing the Saiga. It has quite a kick and a big muzzle flash and ejects the spent cartridges a country mile. Very impressive. And on top of all that it is pretty accurate with just the iron sights. I went by myself later that week and fired the Saiga myself. I still love my M4 but it now has a rival.

The one big gripe I have with all the ranges around here is that they won’t let you rapid fire. You are supposed to only fire a round every 4 seconds. That is not much fun. They will also not let you draw and fire from your holster, which is important to practice for self-defense purposes. Well I found a range that will let you do both things. The range is is in Wakefield and is run by the 4H. It is a private range and I have submitted the paperwork to become a member. You are your own range safety officer and can do whatever you want as long as it is safe. I am looking forward to being able to shoot there.

Our church had our annual bazaar and semi-annual Brunswick stew event recently. As usual I spent 7 hours preparing 380 quarts of stew for sale. It is a lot of hard work but the event and sale raises a lot of money for our church. Speaking of cooking, I am going to prepare a cheeseburger pie for supper tonight. The recipe is from our church cookbook and it sounds delicious. I will find out tonight. That’s it for now.