The Sausage

N’s aunt recently gave us a sausage that was in the process of drying. “This sausage is drying,” N said as he brought it into the kitchen. “Don’t put it in the refrigerator.”

“Where should we put it?”

He paused. It wasn’t the first time I’d asked that question about a drying sausage. “Maybe we should put it outside the door this time,” he suggested.

Later that day, I took the sausage onto the landing outside our door and looked around fruitlessly for a place to hang it. I wondered if I should rest it on the windowsill. As I contemplated having to move a sausage every time I wanted to open the window, I noticed two projecting loops on the window frame that lock the interior shutters into place. I hung the sausage there by the string that tied its two ends together.

A few days later the aunt came for a visit. When I opened the door, she said, “Oh, you’re drying the sausage out here,” obviously pleased. “But it’s better this way,” she said, turning the sausage ninety degrees so that it rested directly on the metal loops.

Reenactment (with broken sausauge)

Reenactment (with broken sausauge)

When N came home that evening he said, “I see that you’ve turned the sausage.”

“No, your aunt did, she said it was better that way.”

“But now the sun will hit the sausage.”

Boh,” I said, shrugging.

A couple of days later, I noticed that the hallway smelled like a salumeria and that there was fluffy white mold growing on the sausage. When N came home that evening, I asked him if he had noticed the odor on the landing. I told him about the mold.

Mannaggia!”
he said. “We shouldn’t dry sausages in this house! Now we have to eat that sausage.”

“Tonight?” I asked, wondering how well moldy sausage would complement chicken and dumplings.

“No, but soon.”

The next day I decided to use the sausage. As I brought it into the kitchen, I noticed that it was already hard. I began to remove the moldy casing but the hardness of the sausage made it difficult. I broke it in half where it was folded, hoping to get a better start, but it was no easier.

“N,” I shouted into the living room, “we are not eating this sausage today. I don’t have all day to peel it!”

I put the sausage in a bowl on the kitchen counter, thinking that I would decide what to do with it later. But it wasn’t long before the sausage stank up the kitchen. I moved it to the office, the driest room in the house. When the time came to dry a wet towel on the radiator there, I realized the office was no place to dry a sausage. Defeated, I hung it back up on the landing window, once again by its string; the sausage being broken, there was no other way. I resolved to ignore the sausage and its meaty odor.

Hanging by its string

Hanging by its string

***

I know the aunt will be displeased when she sees that the sausage no longer hangs in the manner she prefers.When she asks, I’ll tell her the sausage fell and broke. Then, shrugging, I’ll say, Boh.”

***

Epilog: Death of a Sausage

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13 responses to “The Sausage

  1. KC, that tickled my funny bone! When I read “…wondering how well moldy sausage would complement chicken and dumplings.” I laughed aloud. Do you really have to use the sausage? Could you just tell the Aunt you ate it, and it was very good, thanks? Sorry that would be a bugia, but really, you shouldn’t have to eat moldy sausage! And if it is gone your house doesn’t have to smell like a salumeria anymore. Best of luck with this! :-) and I am curious about how this issue resolves.

  2. Amber, I think we really have to eat it, unless it gets very moldy and becomes truly inedible. N hates throwing away any of the food his aunt gives us. I agree with him in principle because I don’t like wasting food either, but sometimes she gives us something that becomes a problem, like the sausage. I’m kind of hoping the sausage will go bad…to be honest, I don’t really like dried sausages anyway.

    Yes, Eryn, strange but true. And funny.

    Thanks, anon. It’s pretty well traveled, as sausages go.

  3. Gail, I used to consider sharing the aunt’s gifts with others, but she knows everyone and I decided it was just too risky. It might get back to her!

  4. I never know where to put the sausage either. O likes to go to his mom’s and just hacks off a piece of sausage that she has hanging there by the fire. I’m not that adventurous with drying sausage. Of course, she has the appropriate hooks in the ceiling just for hanging sausage. We don’t.

  5. Yes, I also prefer to leave sausage drying to people whose houses are better adapted to it. I worry too much that the sausage will go bad.

  6. ‘Boh’ is always the answer! Good luck with that traveling sausage. I think we all want to know how it turns out.

  7. How funny, the tale of the sausage! Is this the same zia that gave you some sort of basket that you had to move around?You’re really “una santa”.I do enjoy reading these kinds of storie that are told with humor.Carole in KC

  8. Valerie, I love boh! I’ll have to write an update to keep everyone posted on the sausage saga.

    Carole, you guessed it, she’s one and the same! When dealing with her, I try to remember that most of the time she wants to be kind. And that she’s good material for blog posts.

  9. This story could stand in for almost any expat tale ever. We get close, but not quite at the cultural target. And we learn to say boh or meh and our Italians don’t know how puzzled we remain.I find sausages will dry in the fridge if they aren’t wrapped. Course everything else is sausage flavored shortly.

  10. True, Judith. I often have the feeling that I’m just wondering lost through life here, that I don’t really understand cause and effect, or motivations at all. It’s not a negative feeling, it’s just one of wonderment.We are fortunate enough to have a second refrigerator, so I may try drying sausages that way next time. I’ll just clear out anything that shouldn’t have a sausage flavor and put it in the other one. Thanks!

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