Winter Holiday Traditions Part 2
Christmas time for rural folk traditionally became associated with “Hog killing.” Families slaughtered several hogs in cold of December to insure they’d have an abundance of food in the house during the holidays. The collective community event would start early in the morning, sometime around 10:00 am and last late into the evening. Historically, in parts of the south, seasonal workers in the logging, farming, cotton milling, and ice making industries participated in the strenuous work of butchering the hogs in exchange for parts of the meat for their service. Joyce White of Alabama remembers black workers would remove the skin and throw the white fat into cauldrons set on top a fire to make cooking lard. “Mama would cut up the skin into pieces and drop it into the hot oil to make crisp cracklings.” Her mother and the other women folk passed out the crackling to the workers, along with pans of “hot cornbread, roasted sweet potatoes, and a can of molasses” says White.