21 July 2015

Remember, You’re Proud, Happy & Thrilled

Last October when we arrived to house hunt near Samara, we based ourselves at a fabulous little boutique hotel called The Flying Crocodile. Its proud proprietors are German, and it was great fun to practice my terrible German with Petra and Andrea. The breakfasts were outstanding . . . felt like Rothenburg again. And with advance notice the staff would prepare a by-request dinner. One day we asked for a typically German dinner, and Petra personally ensured that we were served several types of wurst. We were thrilled -- the best of the wurst . . . okay, I concede . . . how often has that line been used? Nevertheless, recently I’ve been craving wurst again.

Now one has to want to get to the Flying Crocodile . . . especially in rainy season, though it is always worth the effort. After the rains some roads are closed due to high water (though probably not as of this writing). In the driest season, it’s a far piece down the road from Mil Colinas, and that road is bumpy, and I don’t have Petra’s number, and I really can’t commit to which night Rusty will drive there for wurst, and my excuse list could easily continue. The answer?
Make my own bratwurst. After all, we have a KitchenAid with every attachment known to Bobby Flay. How difficult could it be? Our butchers sell large slabs of pork shoulder; and there’s a website called Let’s Make Sausage, dot com. Plus, my Peace Corps pal, EBJ, will help . . . via Internet.

First, let me tell you would-be sausage makers that the KitchenAid will not do all the work. I'm unhappy to report that the booklet lies. 

I never know how to refer to Costa Rica. Certainly not as a third-world country . . . or is it . . . or at least parts of it? Developing country? That sounds better. But can a country with some of the finest health care on the planet be called developing? Doesn’t a 95% literacy rate deserve better than developing? In any event, the meat counters of the butchers and grocers have a distinctive Pô aroma. I equate this aroma to freshness . . . though clearly with meat, there is such a thing as too fresh . . . as in, today I felt as if I was field-dressing a hog. Happily, I realized early into the wurst process that multiple pairs of gloves would be required. So time to suck it up and make sausage.

Let’s quickly move on to the clean-up, because once you’ve field-dressed the shoulder of the pig and put it through the grinder, there isn’t that much involved in the sausage flavoring part. God knows we brought every herb/spice/flavoring/essential-oil on the planet. So I'm proud, happy, and thrilled with the results of the bratwurst . . . that's my story and I'm stickin' to it . . . but I ain't cookin' it. Rusty, my pet, where have you so suddenly disappeared? 

Now in most homes in the United States, one could simply disassemble the KitchenAid and place its parts together with all bowls and utensils into the dishwasher on the pot-scrubber setting. Yes, we have a dishwasher, but let’s recall that it’s presently full of copper pots . . . that, and I suspect that the hot water in the dishwasher doesn’t get any hotter than the hot water at the sink. In other words, I doubt that it's sanitizing hot.

We have what I call in-line water heaters . . . meaning that beneath each faucet (and at the washing machine) there is a unit that heats water on demand. The hottest water in the home is in both bathrooms; and I had no intention of toting meat-covered items through the home and into my bathroom. Nay, not even into Rusty’s bathroom (though Janet comes tomorrow, so she could have scrubbed extra hard in Rusty’s shower). Still, this was not the way to sanitize everything.

Bleach. Our old friend from Pô: bleach. That took care of the KitchenAid and utensils . . . now what about the pork trimmings? Over the stone wall railing, naturally.

We have a basket that rests over the sink and holds all manner of organic waste. It’s the garbage-disposal-basket. I’ve learned to rinse dishes over it, thus avoiding organic particles in the non-disposal sink. Clever man that he is, why can’t Rusty figure out this technique? In any event, I rarely allow the disposal to get too full, or to hold anything organic for too long . . . and too long is about 45 minutes in my world. So if I’m cooking, I’m flinging. Periodically I’ll ask Rusty whether he’d like to fling . . . he’s a better flinger; and I live in fear of flinging and losing the garbage disposal with its contents over the mountain (as so recently happened with the coffee filter).

There’s never a flinger around when you need one. Meat, especially raw, is not something I want anywhere near our home. Meat is not a banana and should never be used to lure anything carnivorous toward our home. Plus, our monkeys are herbivores . . . though believing that our monkeys want bananas seems rather judgmental, if not downright stereotypical, don’t you think? So with meat, standard operating procedure is to fling hard and far. But there’s another technique to flinging. It is essential to remove every particle from the garbage disposal (lest any hint of an invitation be directed toward indoor insects); and banging the disposal on the stone wall railing is not the answer as it chips the paint, I’ve discovered. Sssh . . . we’ll never speak of it.

Now the mesh-net garbage disposal has handles, sort of, so one would think that flinging without loss of the disposal isn’t that difficult. Well let me tell you: it’s like sausage making . . . and the booklet lies. No, I didn’t lose the disposal unit, but the great part of a pig’s shoulder lies directly at the bottom of the stone retaining wall. What else need be said? Cocktail hour will begin early today . . . and for this, I'm thrilled. Lo que hay.