Monday, September 20, 2010

Jaternice

All this talk and research about traditional foods has gotten me interested in what my own ancestor’s ate.  I would really like to do some more research and find where things went awry in my own history.  My forefathers’s lived in Iowa for four generations and were all into farming.  This means all the way through to my own parents, they had home grown vegetables, chicken eggs, fresh milk and meat from their own animals, mostly pigs.

Looking through my grandmother’s cookbooks, it was obviously a pretty gradual change over time from real to processed to more processed.  Lard changed to shortening and margarine, unbleached flour to bleached white, cans of this and that started popping up and I found it interesting when a recipe was calling for a new pre-made product, it would be extra specific.  Another thing I noticed is that as the print date of the cookbook became more recent, there was less use of animal parts like tongue, feet and liver, cream and full fat dairy. 

I came across the recipe for Jaternice in a cookbook lovingly known in our family as “The Duncan Cookbook,” compiled by a town of mostly Czech immigrants, including my great grandmother. It is a charming, community compilation that was carefully typed out on a typewriter.  It reads:

Liver Sausage “Jaternice”                                                       Mrs. George Malek

Boil a pig’s head.  If too fat and large, trim off the fat.  Boil the heart, lungs and kidneys in the same kettle.  When all is done, grind up fine.  To one part of meat add two parts of stale bread.  If meatier sausage is desired, add more meat.  The bread must be soaked in water and squeezed dry.  Add pepper, salt and marjoram.  Other spices may be added also. Have ready beef casings cut into strips 6 inches long and tie one end.  Proceed to fill casings with meat filling and tie remaining end.  Put them in the liquid in which you have boiled the meat, putting it into one or 2 medium sized kettles. These should be not quite half full.  Let the sausages simmer.  Boiling rapidly will burst them.  When they come to the top, remove them from the liquid and lay out to cool.

My mother comes from a Czech line, which is where Jaternice originated, but this same recipe was shared around their community and went by many different names.  My parents both have fond memories of this dish as children.  Traditionally the meat mixture went into beef casings to make sausage links, but both my parent’s families served “the slop” over bread.  My mom remembers having to compete with all 7 of her siblings for seconds and would often gobble up the topping and sneak some more before the others would have time to finish their plate’s.

32 comments:

  1. This is so interesting. I have been interested in my own history as well as my husband's. My husband's line is Italian and I was reading about how they used to cure their own pork and save the lard for cooking. It is amazing how much of that we have lost...nobody does that! My mom is working on a family history of her grandmother right now and I can't wait to read it because (although my mom isn't interested for the food aspect) there is supposed to be some information on how they used to eat. My grandparents and other ancestors were like yours and did everything themselves. It is interesting to see how we are coming full circle again.

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  2. So is Jaternice on the menu for your family this week?! :)

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  3. mmm-MM. Mu hubby's family grew up in the same place with much the same fare.

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  4. When I come across a good source for pig parts, you can bet I am making this. Too curious not to!

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  5. Ok I guess I saw the bottled pears somewhere else but I am impressed with all the canning you did! I've got to try green beans next year, my grandma used to have home canned green beans and they were the best!

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  6. Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

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  7. This stuff is dee-lish, the meat market that used to sell this lil' tube of heaven closed down after some serious flooding in the Cedar Rapids Czech Village. The cost of reopening kept them out of business; they still used wood fire and would have to update to code. I need to find a new fix! Don't think I am going to try to make this my self though.

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    1. If you're up for a drive, head to Spillville, Iowa (NE corner of the state near Decorah)---the meat locker there makes fab jaternice!!

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    2. as well as in Protivin !! My grandparents went there all the time for Jaternice, 'big gut bologna' as well.

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  8. That is really sad to hear about them not being able to reopen. Hope you can find another source. My great aunt still makes it, but she is in Algona.

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  9. I found your jaternice recipe to be quite interesting. I, also, come from a family of Czech immigrant farmers in Texas and we make a very similar sausage...not sure on spelling but believe it may be jitranice. I see that your recipe calls for lungs and that is not something we ever put into it. However, I have eaten lungs and they are quite good, so I see no reason why not.

    Our jitranice is made from hog's head, including ears and snout, tongue, liver, and heart. At times, kidneys are included, but I don't much care for the smell of kidneys, so I leave them out. In place of the bread in your recipe, we use white rice and rather than beef casing, we use hog casing. The other difference I see is that I have never used anything other than a little salt and pepper as seasoning. However, I really like marjoram flavor, so I may experiment with adding a little to my next batch.

    In fact, I'm getting ready to make some next week and that is why I was searching the internet for info on jitranice....just curious to see what other variations are made. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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  10. That is so interesting. I love to hear that you are making it yourself, kuddos! My mom pronounces this dish E-ther-nit-zi, I find Czeck words fascinating. Good luck in your search.

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  11. In reference to being fascinated by Czech words and as additional info regarding the name of the sausage, I thought I'd post my thoughts on that.

    I, also, am fascinated by the Czech language and, although, I learned some from my parents and grandparents, I'm really not very proficient at it yet. However, I did recently visit our ancestral village in Czech Republic, where both my mother's and father's families came from and spent some time with the locals and even met some of my relatives. While there, I learned that many of the immigrants to the US came from this particular part of Czech Republic which is located in Morava, very near the border with Slovakia. The area is known locally as Wallachia and the people represent a distinct culture known as the Moravian Vlachs. They speak a distinct dialect of Czech that has a heavy Slovak accent and uses a bit different pronunciation that mainstream Czech. I believe this may be the reason that our families pronounce this word as something like ee-tra-neetza, leaving off the "j"...actually "Y" sound from the beginning of the word.

    I just looked in one of my Czech dictionaries and the word is correctly spelled "jitrnice". In Czech the word "jitra" means liver, so I'm quite sure that the name is in reference to its liver content. However, another interesting observation is that the Czech word "jatra" means morning. Typically, our family eats jitrnice as a breakfast food, so I'm wondering if the fact that it is sometimes spelled "jatranice" might have anything to do with that? I'm completely just throwing out a wild guess on that one as I'm quite certain that the correct spelling is "jitrnice" and that it simply means liver sausage.

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    1. YOU ARE CORRECT IN THE SPELLING AS BEING JITRNICE. WE PRONOUNCED IT E-THER NIT-ZAY. ALTHOUGH I AM FULL-BLOODED GERMAN, I GREW UP IN A CZECH COMMUNITY - NEW PRAGUE, MN, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED JITRNICE AND HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANY LOCALLY. I'M IN MINNEAPOLIS, MN. I'M NOT ABOUT TO TRY TO MAKE IT MYSELF, BUT WOULD CERTAINLY LOVE TO TASTE SOME AGAIN.

      WELL, BACK TO MY INTERNET SEARCH OF LOOKING FOR A LOCAL SOURCE OF JITRNICE...

      FARMER'S DAUGHTER IN MINNEAPOLIS

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  12. I didn't even know it was a breakfast food. In my grandma's cookbook, there are numerous recipe's labeled Jaternice that includes liver sausage in parenthesis. It is just a church cookbook that reflected one small community's take on Czech foods.

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  13. In our family, jitrnice is typically eaten as a breakfast food after having been briefly baked in the oven. Additionally, some people like it served cold, so it is sometimes served cold with bread or crackers. It is certainly not restricted to being eaten only for breakfast, but my experience has been that this is when we typically serve it.

    My girlfriend's family live in Germany, right on the border with Czech Republic, and I have found it interesting that they also eat a form of liver sausage for breakfast. Known as liverwurst, or Leberwurst in German, it is certainly different from jitrnice, but still a form of liver sausage. The Germans serve it both hot or cold and I cannot recall any breakfast I have ever eaten in Germany when Leberwurst was not present on the table. It is made from pork belly, liver, onions, salt/pepper, and marjoram. It lacks some of the flavor and texture of jitrnice since it doesn't include the cartilaginous head parts, tongue,heart and bread/rice, but could be considered similar, nonetheless. When heated, the pork/liver combination certainly is reminiscent of jitrnice.

    Growing up in a Czech farming family, morning meals seem to have always included some sort of sausage...often jitrnice. In rural parts of Czech Republic and Germany, I think this tradition persist still to this day.

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  14. I have been looking for a recipe for this for years. We have always called it "Jiternice". We purchase it at a meat market in Jordan, MN called Pekarna's. We eat it for breakfast with cottage cheese, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs and kolaches. Would be fun to try and make!

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  15. Jaternice can be found at Polashek's Locker in Protivin, IA, it is a czech town, czech them out at www.polashekslocker.com

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  16. My family was Bohemi on my mother's side and German/Bohemi on my father's. Pohlena's meat market in the Czech village(we always called it BohemiTown)in Cedar Rapids was our source for the best jaternice and jellita(blood sausage). I miss this place as much as my parents. The jaternice was perfect in flavor and texture(Runny after it was lightly steamed in an inch of water)over boiled potatoes. I found both of these at Ruzika's in Solon. Jelita is OK but their jaternice is too dry. But at least I found a close source to feed my need.

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  17. Too fun. Thanks for all of the information. I remember eating jaternice (my family pronounced it "YEE-thruh-nit-zee) at my Grandma's farm south of CR, IA. I think it came from Polehnas. I loved it. You sort of scraped the soft filling out with a fork. I seem to remember there being barley or oats in the filling but I'm not sure. It was definitely runny.

    I live in Alaska now. I'm thinking about trying to make this with my next deer using the recipe above.

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    1. Me again. Well I got a couple deer last season and the second was shot in such a way that I was able to make some jaternice with it. I made it with blacktail deer. Pretty good first attempt if I don't say so myself. Used the recipe above and another to make my "humbles jaternice". I'll make it again if i can.

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  18. My paternal Grandmother was from Czechoslovakia. As a young boy I remember going to her house after school and seeing the pig's head boiling on the stove in preparation for Jiternice! She made the best Jiternice which was made with barley. We always ate Jiternice with boiled potatoes and the potatoes would soak up the grease. That is the same way we eat it today. She loved to bake and made Kolacky (poppyseed my favorite), Strudel and Koblihy.

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    1. dreeves@eldoradoschools.orgOctober 22, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      Just read your note and wanted to know if you would happen to have your grandmothers recipe for Jitermice. My grandparents use to make there own with barley. They have both passed and did not leave a recipe and I was wondering if you would share yours family recipe? Thank you for your time and have a good week.
      Diane from Kansas

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  19. My Mom grew up a farm in Pine City NY and my Uncles all learned to make this when they were younger. For us it was a Christmas Morning breakfast, Jiternice and toasted Hoska. My uncles still make it when they can find a pig's head. My recipe calls for cream of wheat, not barley. It's different depending on who makes it. I have been searching for the one most like the one I remeber and just ordered 8 lbs from a Wisconsin Company called Crescent Meats.

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  20. I am Czechoslovakian on my father's side & we would have jaternice for breakfast on special occasions. We would eat it with eggs & toast. DELICIOUS! I used to order it from Polehnas in Iowa but they have since closed shop & I am looking for a great place to order it from...if I can't find it I may just have to try & make it. These are the places I have found that will ship jaternice & I will be ordering some from these places & post updates to the sausage quality from my perspective....

    crawford sausage company in Chicago
    http://crawfordsausage.com/catalogs/catalog.asp?prodid=5183564&showprevnext=1

    AJ Cetak Meat market in Ord, NE
    http://www.cetakmeats.com/jaternice.asp

    I have an email into Polasheks Locker to see if they will ship jaternice too..
    http://polashekslocker.com/retail.aspx

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  21. Wimmers used to make a great jaternice but ruined it a few years ago by eliminating the pork kidneys, substituting beef tripe. It was inedible. I recently found a small butcher shop in Ord, Nebraska that has been making it for 70 years. Just received it a few minutes ago, haven't tried it yet, but in talking to the folks who have real "Bohunks" on staff, it sounds real promising and it looks like the real deal in the package. I've been eating Jaternice since I was a toddler ... especially at Christmas. There is nothing better than scrambled eggs, jaternice, homemade hoska and kolaches on a cold snowy Christmas morning! My brother and I (both of us are late in our 5th decade) will "christen" said sausage in the morning. Will let you know how it tastes. As they say, the proof is in the (jaternice pork) pudding.

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    1. I grew up in Ord,k NE...well actually, Elyria, 7 miles North off Hwy 11. Cetak's was the best! Love jaternice!

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  22. i live in columbus ne. grew up in schuyler, where my grandpa worked at aldoph's meat market. granma's brother raised hogs. they said that they used every part of the pig but the squeel! grew up eating n help making this, IT'S AWESOME! like mine fried n put on toast. currently get mine from tomans in clarkson or my mom picks it up at wahoo; hard to find but the blood sausage is good also.

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  23. Jaternice is about to getting some national attention. Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel is coming to Polashek's Locker in Protivin, IA to try Jaternice! Watch for the episode on the Travel Channel!

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  24. I grew up on a Czech farm in south Dakota. We made jirnice when we butchered. We would heat the ring in a pan with a splash of water. Dad would eat it warm along with a slice of bread with syrup on the bread. It was great that way. I find a very close to old world version made at the blue bird locker in Delmont SD.

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  25. Best jitrnice in the US is Brant's Meat Market in Lucas, Ks. Czech family owned and operated or generations.

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  26. The recipe is written in the post. It is not formated like modern recipes, just a paragraph of instructions.

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It's rude to eat and run. Humor me with conversation please!

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