While most of my father’s ancestors emigrated from Poland many decades before he was born, he still embraced some of the dietary customs his relatives had brought with them from their homeland. Among them was a deep love of sausage, both hot and cold. As a result, I grew up eating various types of fresh and smoked kielbasa, duck’s blood sausage, and — my favorite — a delicious pork summer sausage made in a Polish butcher shop near the Chicago neighborhood where my grandmother lived all of her life.
Throughout my own adulthood, sausage has played only a minor role in my diet. Nonetheless, when I recently spotted a rancher at my farmers market selling ostrich summer sausage, I couldn’t resist buying it. I brought it home, sliced off a respectable chunk, and popped it in my mouth. The memories of the countless, delicious summer sausages of my childhood came flooding back to me, and I wondered whether my Polish ancestors had ever had the opportunity to eat an ostrich.
Just because I don’t always feel like cooking doesn’t mean that I don’t always eat great, fresh, local foods. Living in New York City means that I have easy access to cheeses made from cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk, as well as cured meats made from pork, duck, and ostrich ― all raised and made in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and all available at my local farmers market. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to put a cheese board together, and the expressions on my friends’ faces as they savor each bite remind me how lucky we are to have so many farmers working so hard to make us so happy.