Don Waltman’s old fashioned pork kettle, other items, reflect bygone era
These were the days when city butchers knew the products the customers wanted. That is what Don Waltman, a retired butcher and owner of Waltman Meats, 338 Court St., said about his shop and its predecessor, Smithgall & Ging Meat Packers. Waltman, 77, decided to retire a month ago, after operating the store at 338 Court St. for 49 years and a stand at Lewisburg farmers market for 52 years.
Butchering artifacts and memorabilia of a bygone era are displayed on the walls and fill the space inside the Court Street store. Along the rear wall of the store are brown paper bags flattened and put in frames. They are representative of meat packer which was originally established in the downtown in 1932, Waltman said. On any day her meat shop was open, Edith Ging could be seen and heard from behind the counter giving “what for” to her loyal customers in a tongueand-cheek fashion, Waltman said. “She’d sit there and talk to whoever came in,” Waltman said.
He bought it from in order to make it his own delicatessen and butcher shop. The business bags along with a black iron kettle used to boil hog parts to make sausage, liver pudding and scrapple are among the items left in the store. The black iron kettle produced pounds and pounds of pork products. The burner would heat the water to a boil and the arduous task of adding corn starch, buck wheat flour and stirring the hot mixture into a thick paste resembling mud was all in a day’s work, Waltman said.
Then, the mixture was taken out by ladle and put into smaller bins and smoked in a gas or wood fired smokehouse The meat was butchered on wooden block tables, one of which remains at the shop near the iron kettle. “Smithgall & Ging recipes were renowned and the sausage was shipped to the White House during President Franklin Roosevelt’s time in office and Pullman Car Co. in Philadelphia,” Waltman said. The bags lists the company specialties such as home cured bacon, pork and sausage. One of the long-standing workers from Smithgall & Ging was Abe Winter, who worked with Waltman and brought many recipes with him. He kept working until nearly 90. He was a member of Bethel United Methodist Church, and enjoyed farming and fixing equipment. Waltman said he kept some of the secret recipes of the store when he purchased it 49 years ago. It was in keeping with fresh, locally raised products such as hogs, cattle and chickens. Smithgall & Ging, he said, operated a farm consisting of several hundred acres along Wallis Run north of Montoursville and another near the Lycoming Mall.