When I was a child in the ’60’s and ’70’s in The Coal Region, many of our daily food items were obtained from the back of a door-to-door sales truck.
There was the baker in his orange delivery van who came through town twice a week. He would stop at the bottom of my next door neighbor’s steps and someone from each of the surrounding houses scurried across yards and the highway to climb into the van and buy bread, donuts, and various baked goods.
Milk and dairy products were ordered from a paper checklist provided by a local dairy (Guers Dairy, Pottsville, PA, in my case) and appeared early in the morning a couple times a week, cradled snugly in an insulated box that sat by the side door; the box bearing the name of the dairy. (I can still see and smell in my mind the consequences of forgetting to bring in the delivery on a hot summer day.)
Then there was the butcher. Mom would make out a list and gaze down the street on the butcher’s scheduled day for our town. Like clockwork, the red van would appear. There was a step at the back for customers to climb onto and inside the truck was a mini meat shop, complete with glass-front display case, scale, and rolls of butcher’s paper.
One of my family’s favorites from the local butcher was his fresh pork sausage. Mom would get a long link which she cooked and browned in a frying pan and served accompanied by mashed potatoes smothered in creamed corn. The butcher had wonderful smoked sausage, too, but my favorite from him was the fresh.
A short time before leaving Pennsylvania in 2001 to move to New Hampshire, I was visiting someone in a neighboring town to the one I grew up in, and they mentioned they were watching for the butcher. Much to my surprise and delight, the truck that came rolling to a stop in front of their house was the same one my Mom climbed aboard so many times in days gone by.
Amazed to find the same man not only still in business, but making stops for door-to-door sales, I grabbed my purse and scurried out to get in line only to find myself being taken back decades in my mind to my childhood, waiting with my Mom among the neighbors to step into that rolling meat market.
Although the gentleman in the truck did not remember me, I would have recognized him anywhere; he looked like he did so many years before, only a bit more “mature”.
I ordered up my sausage and departed. That evening’s supper was none other than fresh sausage, mashed potatoes and creamed corn — and it tasted better than I even thought it could.
This recipe for fresh sausage lends itself to being put in casings (there are many videos on Youtube to help you with this step) or formed into patties and pan fried. This is along the lines of a breakfast sausage with its inclusion of sage and marjoram but makes a flavorful general fresh sausage, too.. If you prefer, you can also form this into loaves and bake to an internal temperature of 160F degrees.
Homemade Fresh Pork SausageCourse: EntreeCuisine: Coal Eegion, PA Dutch, Eastern EuropeanDifficulty: Intermediate
Fresh pork sausage seasoned with white pepper, marjoram, and sage.
4 pounds ground pork (70% meat/30% fat or as close as you can get otherwise to 2/3 pork to 1/3 fat)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground marjoram
1 teaspoon sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ground pork.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the lukewarm water, stir together, then pour evenly over the pork in the bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients into the pork thoroughly. To test the seasoning, fry a small patty of the mixture until cooked through and taste. Adjust seasonings to your taste if necessary.
- Prepare casings, stuff the mixture into medium-size hog casings in lengths as desired. Refrigerate for 24 hours to rest before cooking. May also be made into patties and fried, or into loaves and baked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
- To cook sausage in casings, add to frying pan with 1/2 inch of water; cover and cook, adding water if needed until internal temp is 160F degrees. Drain off any excess water and allow to fry until casings brown, turning occasionally.
- May also be frozen in bulk packs for use in sausage gravy or other recipes.