November 23, 2010

"Little Runt" by Della Lutes, An Old Fashioned Story!

Roast Pig for Thanksgiving Dinner!
A few weeks ago, whilst at one of The Corgyncombe Courant's favorite places for delightful finds, I stumbled across a book with a red plaid cover called "The Country Kitchen" by Della T. Lutes. They weren't going to sell it to me, as it didn't have a price, but after a bit of pleading they decided to sell it to me for $2.00. I had a book at home in The Corgyncombe Library that had a green and white gingham cover, called "Home Grown", and I knew that it just had to be by the same author. In "The Country Kitchen" and "Home Grown", Della Thompson Lutes writes from her memories of life as a child in the 1870s living in Michigan. In both books she includes recipes or receipts as they were known in the old days. Both of Della Lutes' books were ex-library books... discarded I suppose because no one checked them out of the library, and I'm sure that the library had more, ahem, "exciting" books to replace them with. Well, welcome they are indeed at The Corgyncombe Library!

In "The Country Kitchen" there is a special Thanksgiving story, titled "Little Runt". As Della Lutes explains herself: "That year a young sow mistook, in the exuberance of her youth, the proper season for mating and, in early fall, presented herself with a lively litter of thirteen husky pigs. All but the thirteenth. The thirteenth was one too many for the calculations of nature and he, being shriveled and feeble was rooted out of place by the others and repudiated by his mother."

"Little Runt", as he was called, was brought into the kitchen where he was warmed and fed by sucking warm milk from Delly's mother's finger. Little Runt grew and thrived and became like a pet to Delly and her Mother. Delly took great delight in bathing him and tying a pink ribbon about his neck to give him a festive look. Her Father wanted to fatten the pig up for Thanksgiving dinner. Father kept looking at recipe books for ideas on how to roast a pig and how to make the stuffing. Father was intent upon impressing Uncle Frank with a superior roast pig and insisted that Little Runt be fed the best of food. Father had had roast pig at Uncle Frank's house and thought it an inferior meal and laid it to the fact that Frank was too cheap to feed the pig properly. As Della Lutes wrote: "So Little Runt was fed on sweet milk, fresh cornmeal, and vegetables and he throve to a state of porcine beauty beyond all rightful expectation, considering his early state."

As a little girl Diane always felt a strange mix of excitement and fear around her grandpa's pig pen. Perhaps it was the gap in the fence that had Diane worried.

Little Runt followed the women folk around and after awhile, when Father started scratching his back, Little Runt followed him around, too. Delly couldn't understand how her father could even consider eating Little Runt but father seemed obsessed with having Little Runt as roast pig for the Thanksgiving table.

As Thanksgiving approached Mother took all of Father's licking his chops over Little Runt, with guarded but cool, quiet reserve until Thanksgiving Day when Father had served all his other guests and told Mother he was going to cut her "a nice juicy slice"...

At Corgyncombe Cottage we always have turkey for the Thanksgiving meal.

The Corgyncombe Courant loves this story and knows that its readers will enjoy it, too!

Where we have left off talking about the story is on page 237.
Oh my, as you read on in Della's book, what an unexpected ending to Little Runt becoming the highlight of Thankgiving dinner!!!

Here's the link to the book, you can read almost the entire story, but alas, take note, some pages are missing:
"Little Runt" by Della T. Lutes in "The Country Kitchen"

Tasha Tudor also wrote and illustrated a little book about a special, friendly pig named Dorcas Porkus who wore a collar and wasn't at all fond of baths.


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