Friday, January 18, 2019

An Ode to Cheap Kielbasa

I wonder if the Pizza Cognition Theory (basically: the first pizza a child eats and appreciates becomes what “pizza” is for that child) applies to other foods. The wondering started when I bought a package of the kielbasa we used to have at family cookouts and birthday parties when I was a kid. I’ve had many kinds of kielbasa. Different brands (White Eagle and Bilinski are some local ones) to fancier in house butcher made “artisan” styles. I’ve made and smoked homemade kielbasa. But for me, the one I really like is the mass-produced Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa. Not any other of the Hillshire Farm styles, especially not the turkey. Just Polska Kielbasa.

At some point in the past year I started buying it again. I usually grill the same way my father used to grill it at my birthday party. The kielbasa is cut into 2 inch pieces and then each piece is split in half.

The cut side is grilled first. It was dark and a little smokey, not the best time for a flash picture.

Once that side has some color and grill marks, each piece is flipped to get a little color on the casing side. That’s it.

If you were at my 4th birthday party, pieces of this kielbasa would be served with a tooth pick sticking out of each piece on a paper plate that was wrapped in aluminum foil. In the center of the plate would have been a mound of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard for optional dipping. At home I usually use a Dijon mustard for just about everything but I recently picked up some Gulden’s to go with the occasional Polska Kielbasa. 

On paper, I shouldn’t really like this guilty pleasure but it's probably a good thing that I have to share this basically oversized hot dog with the rest of the family. I’m pretty sure I could eat the whole thing.