Making my own foods and drink and being generally more self-sustaining has become more important to me over the last couple of years. It started out slow by just eating suvo meso at my in-laws house and loving it, then I started watching some of these processes, then I joined in making wine and rakija, and finally I have started making my own sausage and buying farm raised beef and pork. It is with this pork, bought from a farmer in Indiana, that I made sausage two weeks ago with my Kum and a Serb friend he likes to call Cheech. Cheech has become a good friend. He knows quite a bit about hunting, dressing an animal, making wine, making sausage and everything else of the like and he already has all the tools one would need to do all these things, so it works out well! This is the second time we have made sausage at Cheech’s house so we are getting much better at it and things go a little smoother. That didn’t mean though that we were allowed to slack and slow things down. Kume made the comment that,
“Cheech is like Mussolini!”
Plenty of breaks for smoke and drink were had make no mistake, but it was on Cheech’s schedule, not ours. He is the elder statesman after all. He mostly stood there and told us what we were doing wrong, in the grand Serbian tradition.
The recipe we used was not anything complex;
25 lbs. of ground pork, paprika, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and fresh garlic.
It was all done to taste and nothing was measured. We just dumped in what we thought was enough, fried up a sample, ate it and added more of whatever.
- Sausage Fest 2011 was a success.
In furthering my knowledge base I told Milena that I wanted to smoke these baby’s rather than freeze them and eat whenever. At some point I want to have my own smoke house but we live in a townhouse for now, but in the meantime her parents have a smoke-house, Milena made the call and last weekend we went over to start smoking.
Various meats hanging in the smokehouse.
When we got to her parents house we were met with food, of course, and we ate some cheese that her mother had just made and it was great. Milena asked about it and her mom offered to show us how to make it right then. Sweet! I ran to the store and bought two gallons of whole milk and we got started. This is where I started to feel like a fool. Is anyone aware of how easy it is to make cheese? Two gallons of milk, a couple of teaspoons of an enzyme a cheese cloth and a baking pan with a lid. That’s all it takes. That and time. Why we have not been doing this before is beyond me. We are surrounded by people who possess this knowledge and are happy to share it, all we had to do was ask. We spent the time talking, eating and drinking coffee and rakija.
I think that is the part that I enjoy the most with making cheese, wine, sausage, whatever, the social component. It is a lot of work to do these things but I have yet to do any of them alone. Every time there has been someone else there to share the work that I enjoy spending time with. Making food is a community effort, it invites community, it nurtures the communal feeling that is being lost today. Being able to sit at a table and swap stories and have a little drink while doing some work that everyone will benefit from leaves a good feeling in your heart. And of course, when the work is done you have delicious sausage to eat and intoxicating wine to drink. Which, by the way, Cheech was more than happy to supply me with when we were done making sausage. I got two gallons of wine that I helped make the previous summer. Here he is siphoning the wine into a plastic gallon jug for me!
- Serbian winery and bottling plant
So if you have the time and the means I suggest giving it a try