I consider myself a very competent home cook which perhaps is why I found myself so perplexed and. . . OK, traumatized by the events of the past week. I failed to make sausage. In fact it took me four days to fail to make sausage.
Last Christmas I made spectacular Toulouse sausage (brandy, garlic, nutmeg, pepper). It was extraordinary, particularly when served with a Cauliflower/Gruyere gratin. My first time making sausage and it was perfect. I think I got cocky.
My grand plan was to make a batch of fabulous sausage and give it away over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. But then the sink clogged and we had a two day pause in activity. And then yesterday I went to make it and got lazy and left the pork, marinating lusciously in the brandy, stay in the freezer too long creating a mess of my KitchenAid. Today I followed instructions to a tee and had to confront the fact that I had been too cavalier when cutting up the meat, not trimming the fibrous tissue with the needed care. The meat was ungrindable.
Mark (on his mobile phone, voice is resigned yet ominous): We’re out of the sausage making business this weekend.
Dia (knowing my psychic investment in this project): I’m going to slowly back away from this topic and change the subject.
Mark (hopeful): Maybe I can make a pork stew type-thing.
Dia (seeing a quick exit): That sounds great! I’ll see you when I get home.
Apart from a pasta-making meltdown a couple of months ago, I don’t think my cooking psyche has been this shattered since The Great Thanksgiving Nut Loaf Debacle of 1991. This truly horrid episode involved Thanksgiving with my first wife, my parents and brother, arrogant, militant vegetarianism, and a Hare Krishna nut loaf recipe in which I misread “1/3 cup oil” as “3 cups oil.” Oh the humanity.