Sunday, February 24, 2008

Breakfast sausage to begin the day

Even though the days are growing longer and the month of March begins in just a few days (does Daylight Saving Time start soon? That sunshine poking through the bedroom curtains at 6:30 AM would be much more welcome at the tail-end of the day rather than the beginning), it’s been blustery and cold here in New York City. We’ve been smothered in snow and whipped by the wind, and if I’m going to make it through these final days of winter I need to fortify myself in the morning. And that means eating a hearty breakfast of eggs and sausage.

Texans like their breakfast sausage to come in the form of patties, not links (though we seldom say “patty” as it’s just assumed when you have sausage in the morning that’s what it’ll be). And while nothing beats homemade breakfast sausage, in today’s fast-paced world most people buy their breakfast sausage at the store. And if you’re in Texas, you’re buying Owens.

That familiar tube of early-morning carnivorous joy is a staple in most Texans’ households. And since you can’t find it very easily outside the state, it soon becomes one of the things a homesick Texan misses the most.

Sure, Owens doesn’t have a lock on the breakfast-sausage market, but it’s the unique combination of spices and perfect pork-to-fat ratio that fries up probably the most delicious sausage this side of homemade. Trust me, I’ve tried the other brands and their flavor just does not compete.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beanie wienies for grown-ups

I was talking to a friend of mine from Delaware the other day, and mentioned beanie wienies. “Beanie wienies?” she said. “What’s that?”

I was shocked. I thought everyone grow up eating beanie wienies, the simple yet satisfying mix of pork and beans with sliced hot dogs.

Perhaps it’s just a name thing as some people might know them as frank and beans, though I think beanie wienie is much more fun to say. And while there are canned versions made by Van De Camp sold under the name Beenie Weenie, it’s not that hard to slice your own hot dogs into a pot of beans—such a cinch, in fact, that a kid could do it. I know I did and my mom also grew up making herself beanie wienies. But what about beanie wienies for grown-ups? Even though it’s considered a kid food, they are still satisfying on a cold snowy day, no matter how sophisticated your palate.

The summer after I graduated from high school, my parents went on vacation without the kids, shipping my little brother to my grandparents and leaving me home alone with only one rule: no parties. So, naturally, my friends and I decided to defy my parents and throw a party. But as we considered ourselves burgeoning adults, instead of having a blow-out with kegs and crowds, my best friend Laura and I decided instead to host an elegant dinner party for 8. We made our boyfriends wear ties while we girls wore heels and our pearls. I trotted out my family’s good china, silver flatware and table linens and played Vivaldi on the stereo. We thought we were tres sophisticated.

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