K is for kielbasa.
The deliciously wonderful sausage.
(That’s what she said.)
You know how people get about bacon? Like obsessive? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel about kielbasa. When it’s on sale at Festival (love my grocery store!) I always stock up and have some in the freezer. It’s great have it on hand– especially in the winter. Nothing (nothing!!) makes soup more delicious!
The reason kielbasa is worthy of an entire letter-based post all on its own, though, is more than just the sausage. It’s about what it represents.
You see, once upon a time I didn’t think I liked kielbasa. I know that I don’t like potato sausage (yoopers, I tell ya), and I assumed they were pretty much the same thing. So I always avoided it. Until one Easter at the farm (my first one in Wisconsin) when there was simply no way to avoid it. It was Easter breakfast, we were at the farm before church, and I had to eat something. Toast and donuts were out on account of the gluten (let’s talk about that some more in the near future) and I’m super picky about fruit (as in, I’ll eat some grapes, sure, but only if they haven’t touched the melon, thankyouverymuch). I recognize that I’m way too old to have these kinds of food avoidance issues, but it’s a pretty big thing for me– like maybe I’m on the autism spectrum or something? Certain foods… I just can’t do it. Not-green onions. Green peppers. Melon of any kind. Strawberries, but only when whole or sliced, I think they are delicious blended or dehydrated. Super weird, I know.
Anyway, on that particular Easter morning, I ate the kielbasa. Just a small piece at first. And then another small piece, because dang, that was pretty tasty. And then some more. And more and more and more and now I’m in love with it.
I tried something I was scared of! At the farm! And I liked it!
Same goes for asparagus, rhubarb, kale, kholrabi, swiss chard, rutabaga, chia seeds, lemons, zucchini, cream cheese (yes, even cream cheese)…
Sometimes I still don’t like things even after I try them– oranges, for example. (Even thinking about them creeps me out! That awful, awful smell!) And white or yellow onions. (Red, green, or shallots I can do…) But I can definitely pat myself on the back for trying them.
Trying new things is super hard for me though. Just ask my friend Melissa– she supported me through the great zucchini trial of 2012. We were spending a week together at a beautiful beach house in Huntington Beach, California. It was a gorgeous and ridiculously happy week and the whole time, Melissa and I pretended to be sister-wives. It… was… awesome. (Our husbands declared that they were, in that case, brother-husbands, but that’s just ridiculous.) Melissa and I drove all over up and down the Pacific Coast Highway (yes, that PCH!!) grocery shopping and we picked up some absolutely darling tiny zucchinis at Trader Joe’s. Melissa sauteed it and I screwed up my courage until I could finally take a bite. And when I did, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I actually liked it! So much so that it’s my go-to vegetable for stir fry these days and I’m always happy to take prolific garden zucchini off anyone’s hands!
My pickiness is embarrassing, honestly. Not only that, but I can’t have lactose. I just can’t do it– even lactaid is barely cutting it these days. Alas, that little magic pill always was to good to be true. Cheese and I? We’re just not meant to be. Which is a shame, because with the exception of cream cheese (until recently and only in frosting) I love pretty much all cheese. (Especially my very own Cheesehead husband!!)
I can have kielbasa though. And I can try other new things. More importantly: I will try new things. I can walk over to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning (also hosted at my local Festival grocery store– love it!) and pick out something new and interesting. I can see if my favorite farmer has a special veggie of the week for my to try– he introduced me to purple beans and rutabaga (except he pronounces it root-a-beggy, which I love) and hasn’t led me astray so far! True, I may be picky, but I’m no longer unwilling to at least try.
To think– it all started with kielbasa. That’s an affair to remember.
Speaking of no lactose, here’s an un-fun fact: Alieve Cold and Sinus, the best drug for congestion ever, uses lactose as a filler. DANG IT! Want to know how I found out? Well, after I spent this morning at work running to the bathroom over and over again, I checked the ingredients, and there it was… lactose. Not cool. The thing that kills me is that talc, as in chalk, is an ingredient, and yet they still felt the need to sprinkle some lactose in. WHY?! Would the chalk have been less tasty with just a little more chalk and no lactose? I highly doubt it! Anyway, now I know, and I won’t be taking Alieve Cold and Sinus, the wonder drug, anymore… regardless of how congested I am.
Want to know why I’m congested? Seth brought me a cold home from Miami last time he was there. So nice of him to be so considerate of me, but I’ve asked him to forget about any gifts in the future.