In the Smokehouse with Herb

There are 400 pounds of bacon smoking in the smoker. Hickory smoked. With actual hickory. “Not liquid smoke,” says Herb Brittner. “See the hickory sawdust? This is the real deal.” The bacon is going to be sliced tomorrow, probably by Herb’s sister, Sally, as well as Randy, who are already slicing and packing 100 more …

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Christmas in Utopia

It’s early morning on Christmas Eve in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania. The year is 1828. Twenty-seven-year-old Catharina Langenbacher awakens to the five o’clock gong of the grandfather clock in the sitting room downstairs. By the time she clambers down the crude staircase, her widowed mother is preparing breakfast. Catharina’s 35-year-old brother, Romelius, is milking …

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