Mom and I made Cinder into 75 pounds of Merguez on Friday.
Our culture draws some analogies between sausagemaking and politics. Making this sausage was more pleasant than politics has been of late. The rich, red meat flecked with occasional bright green fresh herbs melded with creamy light-pink fat looked much more appetizing than you might suppose.
I knew it would be a big job, but I didn’t expect it to take from 7am until 4:30 pm, with no breaks. When I arrived, Josh was already setting out my ingredients and coordinating my day. Josh is one of the managers of the Mad River Food Hub, and he showed me how to chop the pork fatback, prepare the spices, and use the machinery. Once the sausage was mixed and ready to fill, we fried up a little of the meat. It was garlicky and delicious!
Soon, Mom arrived and we were ready to stuff the links. It’s harder than it looks to do it well. Too much meat, and the casing will rupture and you’ll have a mess and a hassle. Underfill, and you’ll have long expanses of empty collagen and sad, empty-feeling sausages! While we were monitoring the fill rate, we also needed to monitor internal temperatures to keep everything below 40 degrees. Moving meat in and out of refrigerators was a bigger part of this process than I initially envisioned.
In the middle of the day, I got a call that the sheep had escaped! Fortunately, Matt was available to come to the rescue, but the sheep gave him a lot of trouble going back in. The Doctor really likes to push boundaries, and we’ve learned that one of our fence chargers needs a new rechargeable battery and that he’s happy to stick his nose through any fence gap to get it just a little wider until it pops open. At least he’s keeping me honest about the quality of my fencing jobs.
Mom and I worked straight through lunch and all the way until 4:30. We were pretty wiped at that point, so we dragged ourselves home. Feeling that I owed both Mom and Matt a debt of gratitude for their sheep-chasing and sausage-stuffing efforts, I took them out to our favorite local restaurant.