in loving memory: one thousand sausage balls

I remember the table where we sat with our first grade class. I had a lunchbox full of food from home. My best friend bought a hot dog from the school lunch line. We sat down next to each other on those tiny elementary school chairs and got ready to eat. Here’s the thing, though, I had just learned something new. I’d found out something about that food sitting right there on her plastic tray. I wanted to share it.

“Hey” I said, “Do you know what hot dogs are made of?”

“No, what” she asked right before taking her first bite.

“PIGS!” I said proudly… and then she barfed… all over her food.

I didn’t eat hot dogs for years after that. I told everyone I didn’t like them, but I’m pretty sure I had a nagging feeling that I’d take one bite and vomit all over my plate.

I don’t remember a whole lot of things I learned in first grade, but I’ll never forgot that most important lesson: never talk about the bits and pieces that make up America’s finest foods.

This morning I was wrist deep in raw pork, bisquick, and shredded cheese when I flashed back to that barf-covered lunch tray. The oven was preheating. I was pinching off chunks of the mixture to roll into one inch balls, and I suddenly couldn’t stop laughing.

I’m pretty sure sausage balls are meant to be an appetizer or dish to bring to a pot luck party. I, however, will shamelessly eat them for breakfast for the entire holiday season. I’ll pop those suckers in the microwave for 13 seconds and snack on them every morning until time to make another batch. My passion for the cheese-meat-bisquick nuggets is borderline inappropriate. At this point in my life I’m barely able to wait until December to bake batch numero uno.

The truth is, sometime in middle school I got over my fear of patchwork pork products. I tasted a hot dog at a summer party, realized what I’d been missing, and never looked back.Generally, I’m a pretty healthy eater. I love vegetables and fruits. I eat a whole lot of farm fresh crap (not crap, really, I’m thankful for all the free food, mom and dad) and tend toward fresh and balanced meals… but I’d sell my healthy-eating soul for unlimited access to Jimmy Dean (or any other brand – I’m not picky).

In May of this year shortly after Country Music Legend George Jones died I read a story about how a Tennessee restaurant honored him in the best way possible. They made one thousand sausage balls using “the possum’s” personal brand of sausage and the traditional southern bisquick recipe. I’m not kidding. The restaurant served up a thousand of those little guys to fans, friends, and Jones’s widow. How fantastic is that? Nothing could make me set grief aside for a few minutes like a plate full of… well, I’m running out of nicknames that don’t seem dirty.

Also, how hard would it be to get my own personal brand of sausage?

Truthfully, I also don’t want to talk about how sausage is made. It’s pretty gross and I’m fine with happily pretending I have no idea what I’m eating. I definitely don’t want any vegan friends telling me why it’s terrible that I love such a fatty, vulgar, delicious food. I’m a simple girl, really. All I ask is that someone who reads this promises me that when I die they’ll serve one thousand (or more) sausage balls, in my honor, to the people I love most in this world – my fans*.

Oh… and please, if my childhood best friend should outlive me, don’t serve hot dogs.

 

*family, friends

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