Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eighty Pounds of Tradition: A Sausage-Making Adventure

Yes, this is the Polish sausage. I could tell you the recipe, but then I'd have to kill you, if my in-laws didn't kill me first. It's a generations-old family secret. We still use Len's grandpa's handwritten recipe, along with his old measuring spoons and the same plastic mixing tubs that Len's dad, aunts and uncle remember from their days as little helpers on annual Sausage Day. The past three years, Len and his brother have taken over their dad's and uncle's jobs of mixing and stuffing (under the close supervision of my father-in-law, of course). I've had the privelege of helping my mother-in-law by measuring the spices, rinsing the casings, and tying off the ends.

I can't share the recipe,
but maybe you can
figure out the spices in
this picture.

Do the seasonings make
it Polish, or is it the
hands that mix it?

The homemade Polish sausage is a staple of Len's family's Easter dinner, but since we only make it once a year, we make so much more than just a holiday's worth; we make enough to have hearty Polish dinners year round. Eighty pounds to divide among us, this year. Open our deep freezer now, and you'll get a blast of frozen garlic breath. Oops! Just gave away one of the major ingredients. Well, that wasn't a hard one to guess. If there's anything in this sausage, there's garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. And maybe some of my brother-in-law's wrist hair (see photo above). Mmm.

Boil, then brown.

A tasty end result.

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