Episode 39: Meat Sticks

Dusk. A lone boxcar clatters down the tracks. Squint, and you’ll see two silhouettes huddled inside. One peels the lid off a tin can; the other rips open a plastic pouch with his teeth. They say grace over the feast of Vienna Sausages and Lit’l Smokies. Forget, for one moment, about the world outside this godforsaken freight car. It’s suppertime. We don’t know how a boxcar can travel without a locomotive either, so shut up. www.spilledmilkpodcast.com

8 thoughts on “Episode 39: Meat Sticks

  1. Ben

    I was listening to the podcast and was struck by the similarity of Molly’s experience with Vienna Sausage to my own. As a child I always wanted to have a can of sausages all to my own. I finally had my chance upon moving out on my own, I spied a can of the sausages once while shopping. I bought the can and opened it at home expecting a delicious feast of sausage only to be confronted with an oily can of soft, soggy, poorly flavored meat. (Calling it meat is being kind). I was only able to eat two before discarding of the rest. I don’t know where I got the idea that vienna sausages would be tasty, but I have never gotten the urge to return to that food again.

  2. Elizabeth

    Wow, apparently we should start a support group for adults who pined for Vienna Sausages in childhood, only to be deeply disappointed/disgusted when we finally found that Holy Grail of school lunches as grownups. I was in exactly the same boat as Ben and Molly, but my boyfriend came home with a can of these (gifted from a friend, apparently, but I think their motivations might not have been entirely altruistic…) and when we tried them, we would have died laughing from the looks on each other’s faces had we not been retching instead. Little Smokies/pigs in a blanket, on the other hand (and no, I can’t bring myself to call them “Lit’l”), I could eat into oblivion.

  3. riye

    We used to eat vienna sausage all the time when I was growing up (which might explain a few things). But then I live in the state with the highest consumption of spam in the U.S. so what do you expect? That said, most folks in Hawaii who came over to work the sugar plantations bought spam and v. sausage because it was cheap and you could keep it a long time. That was a big deal when pretty much everything has to be shipped in by slow boat. Besides, most of those folks ate the canned meat sparingly and loaded up on rice and vegetables, which were cheaper than meat. I don’t eat vienna sausage any more but do have an occasional slice of spam. :-) Lil Smokies though–that was a big treat and we only got to eat those at other people’s parties.

  4. Mariko

    I live in Hawaii and I’ve completely embraced Spam, but Vienna sausages can’t be saved by a hot, oily crust.

    I suppose they could be good food storage, however. :)

  5. Jen/YVR

    Lit’l Smokies – if you want an hors d’oeuvre that seems to get polished off no matter how high-falutin the crowd is that you’re serving them to, try wrapping the mini smokies in puff pastry rather than crescent rolls, and then serve with sambal oelek (or some other chili sauce) for dipping. Really yummy, fairly easy, tho it seems like you laboured for hours and hours on them. Kind of like the mom in the Rice Krispie squares ads who dusts her face with flour before delivering the platter of goodies with a long, tired sigh.

  6. Cayla

    Molly and Matthew, I think you’re both wonderful. I love, LOVE this podcast! I’m from the Midwest, where Lit’l Smokies still make appearances on buffet tables at parties, prepared in crescent-roll-wrapped form, and also prepared in the following manner (have you heard of this one before? what’s more, have you tasted it?): a package (or two, or more) of Smokies chucked into a slow-cooker and topped with enough of one of the following sauces to cover (or veritably drown, depending)–1) barbecue sauce [at my parents' friends house it was always KC Masterpiece], 2) canned chili (with or without beans), or 3) a few cans of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup, undiluted.

    I am not Shedding you. White-trash “gourmet.” Honestly, I love the barbecue-sauced Smokies. There’s something amazingly toothsome about the snap of the casing and how it gives way to a pleasantly swelled, juicy interior that is subtly smoky-sweet from the warm sauce bath. ((Upcoming episode idea, perhaps? Crummy-but-great foods? Weird but Wonderful: Uncommon Food Marriages–??))

  7. Jen

    I too was crushed by experiencing the cloying fattiness of the vienna sausages I had enjoyed as a child; it was downright rebarbative! Don’t ask how I know this, but a close match to those fondly remembered sausages of yore are baby food turkey sticks.

  8. MILNEWS.ca

    About the Vienna sausages, I remember years ago, when I was a Canadian Reserve soldier, we would eat ration packs with canned foods, including the Vienna sausages. I can remember them being called “fingers of death”. Mmmmmm, fingers…..

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