Inspirations for today’s post: family culture and a recent dinner at Polish Villa. Kielbasa… a Polish sausage that I could not live without. Having grown up with homemade and Redlinski’s versions, there are not many places that can do it right. Hillshire Farms? Don’t waste my time. Not. Even. Close.
Years went by until Don and I were let in on the secret existence of an amazing meat haven, Quaker Creek Store in Pine Island, NY. You would drive right by it if you didn’t know any better; it’s basically a convenient store and deli that happens to make and sell its own meats. As far as we’re concerned, Bobby Matuwszewski is a sausage deity. His kielbasa rivals that which my grandmother made and sold; if she liked it, it HAS to be nothing short of incredible. My parents are known to stock up and take a cooler full back to Buffalo. Sure they have Mexican chorizo, Italian sausage, Cajun andouille, German bratwurst and maple breakfast sausages, and even my beloved “TV snacks” (cabanossi), but it’s all about the kielbasa. So in an effort to further expose our family and friends to unique culinary treasures, we try to make Quaker Creek’s delicacies part of our social gatherings. Whether it’s just grilled kielbasa with beer mustard or a ‘basy dog at a cookout, their meats are always a hit. And if it's good enough for Tyler Florence and Anthony Bourdain, well... enough said.
The only other kielbasa that ever came close was not even Polish. A random posting in the newspaper community calendar led us over 30 minutes away to the Ukrainian Society camp in Ellenville. Made fresh and brought in from Brooklyn, their kielbasa was a bit thicker than its Polish cousin, but every bit as delicious and utterly impressive to family members.
I remember Nan and Pop and various other relatives gathering together to grind, stuff and smoke their own kielbasa. A recipe does exist in the family “files,” so maybe someday we’ll make our own. Hopefully it will measure up. Na zdrowie!