Upon returning to my grandparents' house after my cousin's bridal shower a few weeks ago, I discovered that my grandfather was not in his armchair watching the Yankees or People's Court as I expected. Instead, he was in the second kitchen making sausage from scratch.
|Note my mix of fascination and fear.|
Second Kitchen: All Italians have a second kitchen. It's a given. Just like quick tempers, last names with more vowels than necessary, a penchant for talking with our hands, and Catholicism. This literally means that there is an entire spare kitchen in the basement--kind of like the main kitchen's understudy--usually filled with appliances collected after various relatives' kitchen remodeling. Why do Italians have a second kitchen? I'm not totally positive, but here are my best guesses.
1. Italians take a great deal of pride in their homes, and a second kitchen ensures that the main kitchen will always look spotless in case neighbors stop by.
2. Marinara and olive oil are essential ingredients in the Italian diet. Both are extremely messy and splattery and stain-y during the cooking process.
3. Four burners are simply not enough. If Italians have four guests, they must make enough food for at least 25 starving men. Minimum.
Making Sausage From Scratch: I don't eat sausage, so I'm probably the worst person to describe this process, but here goes. To make sausage, you need pork butts from Canada. Why pork butts? I don't know. What's wrong with American pork butts? I don't know. What I do know is that you bring your butt or butts to the second kitchen and chop away, removing the fat. Mix in various spices, and then put the mixture into the grinder, which clamps onto the 1970s kitchen table that is a preparation surface only. No chairs surround it. After attaching a length of empty intestines to the grinder's spigot, turn the handle, mincing the meat and forcing it into the intestine. Eat immediately or freeze. But if you still want to eat sausage after reading this description, I'm impressed.
So of course when I saw the ridiculousness/wonderfulness/irony of this moment, I had to capture it. Enjoy!