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Hasenpfeffer

The proper name is hasenpfeffer, not hausenfeffer. It is pronounced hawsenpfeffer; and the diminutive, or nickname, is not "Hosey"; it is "Hawsey".

Since most people can't pronounce "pf"; the f, as in the family name Pfeiffer, has been dropped; and the game is generally called hasenpeffer. Repeat after me: hawsenpeffer. Hasenpfeffer, in culinary parlance, is jugged hare. The dictionary defines the verb "jug" as "to stew'; so, hasenpfeffer is rabbit stew. The Pfeffer(pepper) makes it a highly seasoned rabbit stew. Hase is German (haws is PA-Dutch) for rabbit.

Neither of my German or English dictionaries list hasenpfeffer as a card game; but my book of Hoyle does. I was born and raised in the Pa-Dutch heartland; and we played hasenpeffer, euchre, and pinochle. We had our "hangouts" in restaurants and bars where we would congregate to talk and play cards, most of the time for small stakes. Until this year, when my annual summer sojourns in Pennsylvania ceased, I never missed an opportunity to play cards, generally euchre, and, usually at the home of a sibling. Except for the size of the deck and some other small differences, euchre and hasenpeffer are played in the same manner. The right bower (jack) is high; the left bower (jack of the other suit of the same color) [spades-clubs, hearts-diamonds] is next, followed by ace, king, queen, ten, and nine. Hasenpeffer uses 48 cards; euchre, 24. To forestall disagreements, there are variations of both games that use other numbers of cards. We used 48 and 24. We played partners. The first jack got the deal to start the game. In hawsey, we sat at six; meaning that, if noody bid, the dealer had to mke six tricks or "buck" (lose six points) . A bidder had to make his bid or lose the amount of his bid. One could bid "hawsey, contracting to make all 12 tricks. He was allowed to discard two cards and to receive two from his partner. He played alone against his two opponents. If successful, he received 24 points and lost 12 if he failed. 62 points constituted a game. In euchre, each player receives five cards; the remaining four cards are called the kitty. The top kitty card is exposed and that suit becomes trump; unless everybody passes, in which case, that card is turned down, and each player, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, may make trump or pass. If everybody passes, the hand is cancelled. If somebody makes trump; and note that anyone can "order" the dealer to pick up the exposed card; the player to the left of the dealer leads. The declarer must make three tricks to score a point, all five to score two points. If he fails to make three tricks; he is said to have "euched" (yooked) and his opponents receive two points for having euched him. The declarer can also elect to play alone; in which case, the dealer takes up the exposed (trump) card; the next eligible player to the left of the dealer leads. If the bidder makes all five tricks; he receives four points. If he makes three tricks; he gets one point. If he euchs; he loses four points. We played fifteen points to a game. Well, I hope that covers it. I thank you for your kind attention. Un' vergesst net; alles fr Spa un' nix fr Ungut.

Contributed by Richard Emlin Reed.

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Last Modified Sunday, 08-Feb-2009 06:46:36 MST

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