Tag Archives: sausage

Spenser for Dinner

So I ended up with a copy of Robert B. Parker’s Bad Business.

RBP Bad Business

Just the kind of read to unwind a busy work week on the Friday of my weekend.

(That sounds rather convoluted, but since week-ends are considered Saturday and Sunday, but I work Saturday, so my not at work days are Sunday and Monday….which makes Tuesday my Monday and Thursday my hump day and Saturday my Friday. So, SATURDAY, I read this book on Saturday night.)

And there were several cooking/eating/ food scenes in the book, because that’s the way Spenser is and that’s how Robert B. Parker writes.  I remembered, back in the day when  the books had been a TV series called Spenser for Hire


Robert Urich was Spenser

Robert U spes leatehr

and a pretty good stand in for Robert B. Parker

RBP with dog

Complete aside: Season 3 – that was 1987  –  they filmed a Thanksgiving episode. Which include scenes shot at Plimoth Plantation.

Spenser season 3

All three seasons are available on DVD

Season 3, Episode 7 Thanksgiving

 First Aired: November 29, 1987

Spenser takes Susan to Plymouth for Thanksgiving and runs into an old Army buddy whose down on his luck. When his friend, Mike Kaminsky, is accused of murdering the young wife of an elderly philanthropist, Spenser tries to prove him innocent. As Susan looks after the Kaminsky family, Spenser and Hawk search out the shifty background of the murder victim, and deal with the controversy conscious step-son. Attempts on Spenser’s life ultimately lead he and Hawk to the those responsible.

Someone (actually, quite a few of us) got to come in early to be pilgrim ‘extras’. Should you watch said episode and see a pilgrim with a dead goose?


But my 15 seconds of fame is a story for another day.

Since the series was called Spenser for Hire, I thought the companion cookbook should be called

Spenser for Dinner

Because of course, there should be a cookbook.

Back to Bad Business.

At the very beginning of Chapter 46, Vinnie is cooking up sausage and vinegar peppers…..


But any pickled pepper could work in this…

So I checked out the North End Italian Cookbook, and sure enough – sausage and vinegar peppers with potatoes.

sausage vinegar pepper FOOD

Sausage and Vinegar Peppers and Potatoes

2 # Italian sausage

1/4 cup olive oil

6 large potatoes, peeled, sliced thick and wiped dry

6-8 vinegar peppers

  1. Brown the sausages in the oil. Remove from the pan.

  2. Add the potatoes to the oil , turning till cooked and crispy.

  3. Add the sausage back and then tear the peppers on top, letting the juices fall in with the meat and potatoes. There will be steam when he vinegar hits the pan, so be careful.

  4. Turn off heat, cover  and and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

  5. The note in the cookbook says hold for a second day, but I’ve made some stellar fritatta…..just saying.

  6. adapted from pages 103-4

North End Ital cb mine

For Italian food from Boston, any one of the editions of North End Italian Cook Book will be your friend.

SPenser for Hire - Hawk and spenser

Did I mention Avery Brooks? He was in the series, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Italian, New England, Supper, The 1980's, TV shows

Hot Dog!

July is National Hot Dog Month!

bogie dog steakA hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz. – Humphrey Bogart

UNLESS…he said…

bogie dog rbI, for one, am sticking by the HOT DOG…


because this is sooo about the hot dog – not the steak or roast beef or even the Ritz

Saturday night is traditionally Franks and Beans night  ’round these parts. (’round these parts? Have I been listening to too much country music??)

beans BM

Beans. Boston Baked. OK, they come in cans,too, but the jar is shaped like a bean pot. A deep breath away from twee.

This a 2 gallon bean pot from the Pot Shop in Boston - this makes 5 pounds of beans...thats a lotta bean!

This a 2 gallon bean pot from the Pot Shop in Boston – this makes 5 pounds of beans…that’s a lotta bean! But it’s hot dog month, so the beans will have to keep. Is there a National Baked Bean Month – or even a Day? Later.

We are having Franks and Beans (ok – and some leftover potato salad) because I found some Maple Leaf Franks….

Just like Uncle Al used to make.

Except this batch all the dogs were pretty much the same….not that that’s a bad thing.

maple-leaf-top-dogs-original-wieners_483And I also found the turn of the last century recipe for the Frankfort Sausages that I made in a workshop that was TEN years ago, where does the time fly?


Time flies, Pigs fly…need some pigs for making hot dogs.


Ingredients. – 2 lbs. of tender, lean pork, 1 lb. of fat, mace, coriander seeds, sauce, claret, sausage skins.

Mode. – Chop both the lean and the fat very fine, add the other ingredients to taste, mix to the consistency of sausage meat with the claret, and fill the skins. Boil them gently in mild beer or water, enough to cover them, for ¾ of an hour, then fry for 15 minutes in butter. In Germany they are often served with well sweetened applesauce flavoured with cinnamon.

Time, 1 hour. Average cost, 2s. 9d.

Seasonable from September to March.

  • Beeton, I. Beeton’s Cookery Book.J.S. Doige: West Street, Blackpool. 1902. Reprinted by Rigby Publishers Lt. London, 1981. p. 126.

NOTES: Sausages: Links to the Past ALHFAM 2004 THF

  • Coriander is the essential HD flavor
  • Put the chopped meat into a food processor to make it into a meat paste (meat mousse)before filling the casings makes the sausage extra good
  • Make them a day or two ahead before serving to really meld the flavor
  • Besides the applesauce suggestion, also good in buns with yellow mustard or sauerkraut
  • ‘Skins’ is Victorian speak for guts – aka casings. KMW
Hot dog in NE style Bun, King Arthur Flour makes the bun pan

Hot dog in NE style Bun, King Arthur Flour makes the bun pan

Why are frankfurters considered fickle sports fans?

They always root for the wieners

(click to find out how wieners are made for you)


Filed under New England, Summer, Supper

First, Bolonia Sausages


Welcome to another Wicked WayBack Wednesday.

For years, and years, and even more years, when I saw the words

Bolonia Sausages

which are fairly common words in 2nd half 17th century English cookbooks, I thought


OM bologina

You know, like Oscar Mayer. Click Oscar Mayer, it’s the link to the song


And then one day I realized it was


Baloney, like  I was wrong.

Really wrong.

Wrong way, really and truly wrong.

Wrong country wrong.

Darn those 17th century English dialects.

Not Bolonia but Polonia. Not Italian sausage – Polish sausage.


Oscar Mayer kielbasa polska

A smoked Polish sausage…..like kielbasa

First, Bolonia Sausages.

The best way and time of the year is to make them in September.

Take four stone of pork, of the legs the leanest, and take away all
the skins, sinews, and fat from it; mince it fine and stamp it: then
add to it three ounces of whole pepper, two ounces of pepper more
grosly cracked or beaten, whole cloves an ounce, nutmegs an ounce
finely beaten, salt, spanish, or peter-salt, an ounce of
coriander-seed finely beaten, or carraway-seed, cinamon an ounce
fine beaten, lard cut an inch long, as big as your little finger,
and clean without rust; mingle all the foresaid together; and fill
beef guts as full as you can possibly, and as the wind gathers in
the gut, prick them with a pin, and shake them well down with your
hands; for if they be not well filled, they will be rusty.

These aforesaid Bolonia Sausages are most excellent of pork only:
but some use buttock beef, with pork, half one and as much of the
other. Beef and pork are very good.

Some do use pork of a weeks powder for this use beforesaid, and no
more salt at all.
Some put a little sack in the beating of these sausages, and put in
place of coriander-seed, carraway-seed.

This is the most excellent way to make Bolonia Sausages, being
carefully filled, and tied fast with a packthred, and smoaked or
smothered three or four days, that will turn them red; then hang
them in some cool cellar or higher room to take the air.

Robert May The Accomplist Cook

Robert May and the frontispiece of The Acomplist Cook

Robert May and the frontispiece of The Acomplist Cook

If you’ve made sausages before, you can see that this is actually a pretty good sausage recipe. A stone is 14 pounds so 4 stone is a LOT of meat. 56 pounds of meat. 17th century sausage making is not for those with dainty appetites. 20-30% fat. Water and spices. Good advice to get rid of the air pockets. This is not a starter recipe.  Smoking is easy if you have a smoker or know someone who has a smoker.

Either way, sausages in September seem completely more Autumn then sausages in August. The cold nights are only the coming attractions for the season ahead. It’s still not Fall, so all those Pumpkin Spiced  Lattes and doughnuts – not quite yet, thank you very much.

pumpkin spice lattes

All in due time.


1 Comment

Filed under Recipe, The 17th century