Food is weird. Like, really weird.
Every time I stop to think about it, eating seems like a daily act of absurdity. And having a greater relationship with food does not normalize the process; it makes it more bonkers. What is it we do when we eat? We are taking the world around us into our bodies, mapping our environment onto our insides. We do it for fun, for survival, for pleasure, for healing, for distraction. We do it out of habit and compulsion.
And then there’s G.K. Chesterton:
“In a world without humour, the only thing to do is to eat…How can these people strike dignified attitudes, and pretend that things matter, when the total ludicrousness of life is proved by the very method by which it is supported? A man strikes the lyre, and says, ‘Life is real, life is earnest,’ and then goes into a room and stuffs alien substances into a hole in his head.”
I particularly love this quote because it reminds me that it is ridiculous to take myself seriously and also that eating is something that is both necessary and a little crazy.
Speaking of crazy, I should mention the sausages that Natasha and I made on the weekend. She bought seven feet of casing for an exorbitant $0.79, so we were in business. Seven feet is a lot, right? Like, lifetime-of-sausage a lot? Nope. But more on that later.
Natasha made the meat version and I started throwing things together for the vegan one. The idea was that we would each prep our sausage mix, and then we’d use funnels to stuff the casing. In theory, it was perfect. We were just going to ignore the fact that her downstairs tenant (a professional butcher) kept walking in and ominously shaking his head.
Several lessons were subsequently learned:
- We should not have started making sausages for supper when we were already hungry.
- It took forever to make nine sausages, which is as far as the lifetime supply of casing lasted.
- The evening could have turned out very differently if Natasha’s partner had not swooped in and made us nachos.
- Smoking sausages in a living room fireplace is possibly not advisable.
- Breaking into Natasha’s vacationing sister’s backyard to use her barbecue is also possibly not advisable (we did it anyways).
In the end, the whole experience resembled an absurdist play. We made sausages. It was weird. We ate sausages. They were delicious. And then it was over.
We took an evening and mapped it inside our bodies. – Rachel
The meat sausage (chorizo-style)
- 2 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 4 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp salt
- 7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 bunch of fresh sage, finely chopped
- several dashes of liquid smoke
Combine all together and stuff into casing, if only it were that simple.
Fry, roast, smoke, cook, or barbecue!
The vegan sausage
- 2 cups white beans, cooked or canned
- 1 cup of mushrooms (we used rehydrated dried cremini), chopped
- 1 package of smoked tofu, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 oil-preserved sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp prepared mustard
- 1-2 tsp liquid smoke
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp or more of each cumin, coriander, dry mustard, paprika, chill flakes, chill powder,
- 1 bunch of fresh sage, finely chopped
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, and when it is hot, add onion.
Let onion fry until it is slightly caramelized, then add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue to cook for several minutes, adding a bit of water as needed. Remove from heat.
Combine the rest of the ingredients, adding the onion mix when it has slightly cooled. Taste filling, and adjust seasoning as needed. I kept on adding a dash of everything (and don’t skimp on the the Worcestershire sauce!) until it was just right.
This filling will need quite a bit of mashing, either by hand or with a food processor/immersion blender. Before it is stuffed in the casing, it should be a similar consistency to ground meat.
Stuff into casing.
Fry, roast, smoke, cook, or barbecue…you know the drill.
This may be a bit obvious, but both of these sausages can be made and cooked without the casing. The meat sausage would be great as a patty, either fried or barbecued (the makings of THE MOST AMAZING breakfast sandwich). The vegan one would make an excellent burger patty, rolled in bread crumbs and pan-fried (it’s a little too delicate to barbecue without the casing).
Whatever you do, make sure there is PLENTY of hot mustard close at hand. This is very important.