Thursday, February 12, 2009

Polish Sausage

I spent an hour this morning looking for my Step-Dad's polish sausage recipe. He's been gone for a quarter century now. Every year at Christmas, I tell my sisters, I will make Polish sausage. It hasn't happened. Honing my culinary skills, I recently made what Mom called Roll 'em ups. I think the proper name is beef rouladen. I improvised, as usual, rolling thin slices of beef around equally thin slices of smoked pork shoulder and sauteing the beef rolls dipped in a special flour mix I keep in a gallon plastic bag. Then while we watched a Showtime TV series on disc, the rouladen simmered in our own organic tomatoes and red wine. Dinner was a crunchy salad with sunflowers kernels and French bread dipped in Extra Virgin Olive oil. The success of the rouladen made me think of the sausage recipe.

My hunt involved sorting through dozens of old notebooks and journals on a dusty bookshelf in my office. Because I was in the middle of grinding pork loin, I didn't have the luxury of re-reading some of these ancient writings.

After lunch in which Dawn and I sample the polish sausage recipe, I read an entry in the journal dated June,1980. The title was Mertz' Cedar Crest Resort. Warning. You may want to put a little distance between yourself and this entry. The wafts of garlic from the polish sausage are rolling in waves across my monitor. Here it is verbatim.

It all began as... 5 paperbacks, one horror story, 2 twelve packs of beer, one thunderstorm, 4 perch, one doz, night crawlers, innumerable interruptions in the middle of the night, 8,000 mosquitoes that appear regularly at 9:15 pm, 3 pessimists, one Born Again tie tack, 1800 acres of water 9 feet deep, Three Lakes, one 45 minute horseback ride for $10, too many Japanese made Indian dolls, LEECHES, a kid sleepwalking ( I was just fishing Dad), 2 gallons of wine.

The overlook: 12,000 lily pads, tube tops, loons, herons, baby ducks, bullheads, eagles sunken duck blinds, log trucks, Camp Luther for girls, no swings, undrinkable water, millions of coincidences, hundreds of smiles, pine oar blisters, pine needles, boyhood smells, disposable diapers and deer flies.

One hundred twenty hours, 7,200 minutes in the North woods. Near on alone.

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