Monday, January 12, 2015

Groundhog Day Foods

Groundhog Day contains one wonderful little surprise after another for Heathens, and it has emerged (pun intended) as one of Urglaawe's major observances.

Within the realm of foodstuffs, there are various traditions that serve as symbols of hope, reflections of the Groundhog's actions, and the essence of the season.

Groundhog Day is actually the first day of an observance that we know by a few names: Entschtanning, Uffdredde, or Uffdredding (all of which mean "emergence") in Urglaawe parlance. Our observace shares some roots with the more well known Fasching or Faschtnacht, which is the Christian celebration prior to the beginning of Lent.

The evolution of this within Urglaawe has stretched the Entschanning through twelve days, but we typically are only able to gather as a group for one jam-packed observance of the Groundhog's return as the otherworldly messenger, the celebration of the Idise and of feminine creative energies, the celebration of the hearth goddess (Friggsege), and, although She was not known to us earlier, we also observe the blessings of the goddess Gewwern (Gefion).

More details of this observance will be shared on the other guild groups and on In this post, we will cover the more common food traditions.

Green and White Vegetables

The roots of this tradition are in the crossover between winter (white) and the thawing of the land (green). Most common seem to be cauliflower and broccoli, partially because of their later harvest and also because they tend to keep pretty well. However, other vegetables can be used, too.

"Emergent" Foods

Meat pies, dumplings (including Schnitz un Gnepp), pierogies, stuffed cabbage, etc., are common foods that represent the groundhog within the burrow. Sausages can also fall into this category, so Knockwurst, Bratwurst, etc. are also appropriate, as would stuffed hog's maw.


Many folks eat scrapple on Groundhog Day. While Urglaawe tend now to observe Ewicher Yeeger as a deity associated with scrapple, scrapple was originally made with rabbit, and sometime folks replaced the rabbit with groundhog. However, as is the case with groundhog stew, I am not sure that consuming the otherworldly messenger on the day we honor him is appropriate, so pork-based scrapple would be a better choice.

Birch Beer

Birch beer is widely produced and consumed among the Deitsch communities, and, the fact that it comes from birch is most appropriate for a celebration associated with Frigg.

Corn and Other Seeds

Corn dishes, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, and others are also appropriate to an observance of forthcoming fertility and potential life.


Pretzel Soup, Riwwel Soup


There is no designated method of preparation for these foods, so be creative!



Let's talk about hog's maw... or, as we call it, Seimaage:

This recipe comes from William Woys Weaver's Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking, pp. 142-143.

Yield 10 Servings:

1 cleaned pig's stomach
1.5 cups (8 oz./250 g) diced lean slab bacon
3 cups (350 g) chopped onion
1.3 cups(12 oz/375 g) ground beef, pork, or venison
1.5 teaspoons coarsely grated pepper
.25 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 tablespoon ground marjoram
.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon dried savory
2 teaspoons sea salt
.5 cup (50 g) rye breadcrumbs or spelt breadcrumbs
3 large eggs
6 cups (2.5 lbs/1.5 kg) diced cooked red potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
clarified butter

Soak the pig's stomach 2-5 hours in salted water then rinse and drain. Put the slab bacon in a large skillet and fry over medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and pour off the fat. Do not clean the skillet.

Put the skillet back on the stove and add the onion. Fry over medium heat until soft, then add the ground meat. Cook until the meat changes color, then transfer the meat and onion mixture to a deep mixing bowl.

Add the reserved bacon, pepper, cayenne, marjoram, cardamom, savory, salt, and breadcrumbs. Beat the eggs until lemon colored, then add to the meat mixture. Fold in the cooked potatoes.

Turn the stomach inside out. Using a needle and thread, sew up the two smallest holes in the stomach so that they are absolutely tight and will not leak. Turn the stomach right side out and there is no room for air pockets. Sew up the large opening as tightly as possible, leaving only a small space inside for the expansion of the filling.

Bring 2 gallons (8 liters) of salted water to a hard boil. Reduce the heat and add the stomach. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. At the end of 3 hours, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Remove the stomach from the water and set it in a a baking dish, seam side down. Bake for 20-25 minutes, basting often with the clarified butter only until the surface of the Seimawe [Seimaage] achieves a golden brown color.

Serve immediately on a hot platter.

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