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Not knowing how the sausage is made misses the mark

A late night foray into a basement laundry room in the dark revealed to my stockinged foot that the floor had standing water. Jumping at the sudden wet cold wicking up my leg, I tripped over something and went sprawling on the wet floor, badly wrenching my back in the process.
 
I’m sure it was all very amusing to whatever ghosts left me the puddle, but it’s been a couple of weeks now, and being partially immobilized is getting tiresome. You only realize how many times you have to bend, twist and lift things in the kitchen once you can’t do so very easily, and I’m getting really itchy to cook something interesting again and get off the steady diet of Ibuprofen. Farmer’s markets should be really stuffed with interesting goodies by now, and I’m missing all the fun.
 
Unsurprisingly I follow a large number of food-related accounts on various social media, and something that has been turning up frequently of late has my curiosity seriously piqued as it’s a whole food category to learn about: sausage making.
 
I’m seeing everything from fresh ground versions to the really interesting cured varieties being attempted by home cooks. The saying about it being best to not know how the sausage is made misses the mark.
 
Just looking at the process for wet and dry cured sausages makes it pretty clear that it would be best to find a mentor from whom to learn how to do things. There are various combinations of techniques required for every variety, and the danger of botulism and other nasty problems would indicate this is one of those times when taking a class first is a really good idea.
 
Fresh sausage on the other hand would be entirely doable with some basic knowledge, equipment and preparation.
 
Some kind of basic meat grinder is needed, and here I miss my mother’s heavy aluminum table-clamping model, lost a few moves ago. A motorized grinder is a good investment if you plan to do much experimenting with ground meats in the future.
 
The basic recipe is for mostly lean meat, some fat, water, salt and seasonings such as onions, garlic and a variety of herbs and spices.
 
Sausage making is an ancient culinary art, begun, as is often the case, out of the need to preserve and transport food. Cooked and smoked, meat could be put up ahead of foul weather alongside jars of preserved vegetables.
 
Because this need is universal, every culture has produced its own unique style of sausage. One need look no further than Amish country here to find this to be so as the summer sausage we all know as Trail Bologna is tightly associated with that community.
 
The German, English, Italian, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, Asian and Slavic nations all have their own multitude of sausage varieties, the study and making of which could easily constitute an entire fascinating culinary career.
 
The odd man out here is one I’ve never tried and have no interest in making: blood sausage. This stuff is just as it sounds, made up of large amounts of fresh hog’s blood, fats, oatmeal and spices. I’ll try anything of course, but blood sausage would need to come with plenty of beer at the ready to wash it down.
 
In the run up to Labor Day and cooler weather, I need to find someone to teach me all this, lest I poison someone in the attempt or reinjure my back slipping around in sausage makings.
 

Published: August 8, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170809937