*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
In my mother's wildest dreams, she never expected to stuff homemade sausages at her kitchen table in the heat of the summer. That's what happened one hot August day when my father came home from work and announced that he wanted home-stuffed sausages made from scratch.
Stuffing sausages is a difficult and messy task. So when my father brought home a bucket of natural casings and a massive quantity of uncooked pork and instructed my mother to turn the ingredients into sausages, she felt horrified.
"I never stuffed a sausage before in my life," my mother told me.
Even though my mother was born in the Azores where stuffing homemade sausages is common, she moved to the United States at a young age. When my grandparents wanted sausages, they bought them at the local meat market like everyone else in the neighborhood.
My mother had seen no one stuffing homemade sausages as a child or young adult, and she did not know how it was done. Furthermore, she had no interest in learning how to make sausages from scratch.
I can't say I blame her.
Since this incident took place many years pre-Internet, my mother couldn't turn to YouTube for help, either. She had to figure it out herself.
"I cut up the meat and marinated it overnight," she explained. "The following day, I had to stuff the natural casings with the marinated meat and tie off the links to the right size. We didn't have plastic gloves back then. I had to handle the slimy meat and slippery sausage casings with my bare hands. It was gross."
My parents didn't own a meat smoker. So my father hastily constructed wooden spirals in the basement and hung them all over the kitchen. Then they hung the sausage links all around the room and left them there until the casings dried.
"Would I make my own sausage ever again?" my mother asked me. "No, I don't think so. I would rather buy pre-made sausage or go without it. It's better to leave the hard work to the butcher. I'd rather stick to frying store-bought sausage up on the skillet and serving it on a plate, and then eating it," she said.
"Even though my homemade sausage was a hit, it was far too much work. Nobody needs to work that hard for sausage when you can buy it at the grocery store down the street. These days, you can even order it on the Internet."
As an occasional vegetarian and sporadic vegan, I find the idea of handling raw pork and natural sausage casings repugnant. Personally, I don't enjoy sausage. Even if I did, I'd never go through the horror of making it myself.
What do you think? Have you ever attempted to make your own sausage from scratch? How did it turn out? Comments are welcome.