Friday, April 27, 2007

The Daily Grind

I went off to make sausages with the kids in my "food appreciation" classes yesterday and forgot not only a vital part to my new sausage press but also my camera.

You will just have to make due with this pathetic picture of the electric meat grinder that my wife inherited from her grandmother. It's called--ready for this?--the Rival "Grind-O-Matic." And not just a meat grinder, but a "Combination Grinder/Salad Maker."

Yes, it sounds like a send-up for a ridiculous pitch on Saturday Night Live. But I swear it's true. I just wonder who the genius designer was who thought people needed a machine that made sausages and coleslaw. It even comes with an owner's manual equipped with recipes for "Colorful Vegetable Salad Mold" and "Pineapple-Confetti Salad."

There's also a "One-Dish Meals" section with preparations for something called "Salamagundi" and "Tamale Pie."

And just in case you actually want to make sausages, there's a very brief recipe for pork sausage.

There's no date on the paperwork. I've found similar models on e-Bay describing it as "vintage." So I have to assume this machine harks back to the days of avocado-colored kitchens and those Formica countertops that had the wierd, multi-colored, boomerang protozoa swimming around on them.

But apparently Rival is still in business, making crock pots, mixers, fondue sets and whatnot.

Most importantly, this little multi-tasker still works, as demonstrated by the kids in my classes. As it turns out, we really didn't have time to stuff the sausages. It was all we could do to grind 2 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder and 3/4 pounds of fat, then mix in the spices for Kielbasa sausage and run the mix through the grinder a second time.

We did that twice, in two different classes.

Kids don't care how fancy your equipment is. They had never seen sausage made before. Up to this point, their sausage universe was described by Oscar Mayer hot dogs and Jimmy Dean breakfast patties. So they were thrilled to be able to squish the meat between their fingers and push it down into the grinder.

It's a great way to introduce the younger generation to old fashioned, hand-made food. Next week, I'll make sure the sausage stuffer is in working condition and I will bring my camera. The Spring parents dinner, where we will be serving our Kielbasa, is scheduled for next Friday. So we need to have game faces on.

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