Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Memory: Sausage Makin'

Most families can say they like meat well enough. Maybe they have steaks or roasts on special occasions, or for a favorite meal. But my family likes meat so much that we actually have a tradition of making it exactly the way we want it. While most families decide between Jimmy Dean Maple or Country Style sausage, we just go ahead and do our own sausage makin'.

My first memories of making sausage began when I was probably 5 or 6. All the aunts and uncles and grandparents on my Dad's side of the family would assemble and my Great-Grandpa Louie would reign over the entire operation. The men would be out in the garage or shop, mixing batches of ground pork and beef and the perfect blend of spices, known only to the very most senior members of the family. Women were inside weighing and packaging bulk sausage or working the casings machine to make breakfast links. All the kids were usually assigned jobs that included staying out of the way. We ended those days with a plate of fresh sausage, scrambled eggs, and toast.

As we got older, the roles previously divided by age and gender were blurred; partially because my Great-Grandpa Louie was no longer there to enforce them, and partially because the labor was needed. Women and children were welcomed to the mixing table, and men did weighing and packaging as well. We enjoyed great talks around the mixing and packing tables, including the occasional dirty joke (as dirty as you'd dare tell your grandparents, or as dirty as they'd dare tell their grand kids). There would be light-hearted, yet momentarily heart-stopping pranks about missing band-aids, lost in the sausage abyss.

I don't have any pictures of sausage making with my cousins or extended family (maybe a cousin or aunt does and would like to share?), but I did find a few more recent ones of my immediate family carrying on the ritual in Oregon.
(The hairnets were a safety precaution. At that time, both Jen and I had super-long hair.) 

In future years, even spouses got in on the action too.
(This post was inspired by the fact that I wanted some of our family's delicious sausage for breakfast on Sunday morning. Alas, there is none in our freezer. We didn't make any last year, and are sadder for it. This is a problem that needs to be remedied and we WILL be doing some sausage makin' this year.)

1 comment:

B Sawyer said...

Oh does that bring back memories of butchering day -- making our own sausage with lots of neighbors there to help! We'd render the lard out in a big cast iron kettle under a wood fire in the backyard; and we got FRENCH FRIES in that delicious lard. And I've lived to tell about it!