September 19, 2009

Dry Cured Sausage

It's Saturday night, Eastern Standard Time. A row home two doors down, occupied with more than one family of South American decent is hosting a children's birthday party. From our bedroom window I spy a pinata, a large rabbit, swaying and bouncing by the light of a single porch lamp and whatever pieces of the moon that dapple through the peach tree that overhangs the concrete slab that doubles as a yard. I can see that a young boy is holding one end of the rope the pinata is attached to. The boy is perched up on the neighboring fence. The children are laughing and singing. Another boy is beating every last breath from the poor pinata. As the children start to chant, the roaring forces me to close the bedroom window. I need silence in order to write.

Earlier today we both endured a litany of chores. Mine followed up with a long overdue haircut, a trip to the bookstore and finally to buy wine. Nothing brings closure to a day of errands like a trip to a busy liquor store.

All the while I'm craving not the parts, but the sum of the parts, a pizza. Once home, I don my apron and get on with the business of making the dough, then the sauce. Ample is, garlic, shallot and red pepper that vie for room in the pool of olive oil coating the bottom of the saucepan. As for the toppings, I had in mind to use black olives, red onion, and green pepper from the garden. But something was missing...

'I was thinking about bacon' I said quizzically.
'That or sausage' he replied.
'Oh yeah, the dried sausage...I almost forgot we had it' I replied.

What was I doing while the sausage was being prepped? Oh, that's right, I was taking more pictures. 'Can I take a picture of the sausage?' I asked. 'I was just setting of the shot' he replied. He knows me so well. I hope he doesn't tire of me asking him to set up the shot or 'Just act natural'.

We both lose all track of time in the kitchen. Two hours have passed before we sit down to enjoy the pizza. We've made two so that when hunger strikes on Sunday night we'll have something to munch on.

Oh, and before I forget I wanted to say a few words about the sausage. This sausage was made especially for my Italian by his father and one of his father's close friends. It's a yearly ritual. This time, however, we requested spicy. The response we got was infernal.

One paper thin slice.
I modest bite.
The back of the tongue hums.
The throat chokes.
The eyes water.
Hot air escapes ears.
Eyes bulge and tear.

Imagine any modern day cartoon character taking a bite of something spicy and that's the picture I'm going for.

Presently, the air is cool with a slight breeze pushing its way through screens. The children are silent. Cars are starting up and retreating from the street. My eyes are squinting as I fight back yawns. It's almost Sunday.


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