Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun Times Juggling Carnivores and Vegans

It's just not Christmas until The Sausage Maker catalog arrives in the mail.

The Sausage Maker, as I'm sure you know, is the one-stop shopping guide for smokers, stuffers, grinders, and mixers. There are also pages of vacuum sealers, dehydrators, cheese making presses and fermenting pots. But we use it, of course, to buy our annual supply of sausage casings. My husband is Danish, and one of the Christmas traditions in his family is to make his grandmother's homemade potato and pork sausage to serve on Christmas Eve.

Making potato sausage is a complicated procedure that takes pretty much all day. It involves peeling potatoes, mixing it with the ground meat, stuffing the casings, gently boiling the sausages, and later, frying. We always have mishaps.

Example: broken casings or sausages bursting in the boiling water.

In our house, there's also always some kind of engineering involved. Since we never spring for the sausage stuffer equipment found in the catalog, we need to figure out how to hold the slippery casing open whilst stuffing it. One year we used an asthma inhaler container. Last year, an M&M canister with both ends cut out.

[I keep saying WE but there is no WE about it. I have nothing to do with the grinding or the stuffing or the engineering machinations. Although, I will help peel potatoes, and later, I'll watch the stove while the sausages gently boil--and inevitably burst.]

Potato Sausage Making is my husband's operation, with some help from our son. Christmas Eve you will find them, setting up our kitchen like it is a science lab, my husband laughing, my son saying "Ew," every few minutes.

I should mention that sausage casings are made from hog, sheep, or cow intestines. You can buy plastic inedible casings, but COME ON, PEOPLE, you may as well buy a casing shaped like a football.

(a casing shaped like a football.
Also, a baseball bat)

The sausage making tradition is always interesting, and this year it is about to become more interesting when my visiting brother from California arrives, just in time for the Christmas Eve peeling and grinding and stuffing.

Visiting brother from California is a vegan. I haven't looked this up, but I am pretty sure that vegans do not eat intestines.

Finished Homemade Non-Vegan Potato Sausages

I admit that I had been a little anxious about the menu-planning coming up over the next few days. But I turned to my trusty Sausage Maker catalog and lo and behold, on page 39, I found the solution:

Now, if I can only figure out a way to hide our annual tray of assorted cheeses...

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