I grow up in the Swiss mountains in the North-East part of Switzerland, close to Germany and Austria (and just a hundred miles North of Italy).
I studied electro-mechanic engineering in Zürich, a big city far away from home.
A Swiss machine manufacturer sent me to the US - some 30 years ago, a job that should have last about 6 month...
Today, my wife and I live on a big farm in the South-East part of Georgia, both of us are retired. I am a devoted hobby cook, curing meat, making my own bread, cheese, wine and even beer.
My dear father used to be a excellent butcher, curing and preparing meat for many needy farmers in the high altitude alps (above 3000 feet)! With about 4 month of cold winter weather, survival was not an easy task! When the weather cooled down late in the fall, it was time to kill a few animals and get the meat prepared for a long and demanding winter.
My daddy had two enthusiastic helpers, my brother and me...
Everyone praised him, claiming that he could prepare the finest sausages and cured, smoked/air-dried meat. The farmers had their own curing and smoking chambers, daddy had to check the meat every once in a while before it got stored in the caves or cellars. Of course, the gratified farmers paid my daddy with a few pieces of meat, after all - we grow up poor just like everyone else.
Food - especially milk, bread and meat had almost a religious meaning, wasting food was considered a sin!
Mama used to say "hard bread is NOT hard - NO bread is hard". She meant "having NO bread is hard"!
Today, we live in a different world, preparing meat is a now a matter of mass production, the revenue is more important than quality. A few small companies still produce excellent mountain cured meat as a expensive specialty, available at a small number of gourmet stores.
Guess what happen... thousands of committed folks begin to copy the good old recipes!
There is a army of enthusiastic cooks getting back to the good old time of preserving meat. They create new and easy to make curing chambers, smokers and whatever equipment they need. They try various recipes, different procedures, playing with temperature, humidity and timing...
And at no surprise - just about all of them produce a excellent homemade delicacy with satisfaction and all the pride in the world!
What about me? YES - finally, I have time to go back to meat curing and preservation. I still know the old recipes that my daddy got from his ancestors! I know the secrets on how to make Appenzeller Mostbröckli, Pantli, Landjäger and the finest Mountain cured meats...
Give me time, I may come up with some excellent recipes - just for you!