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March 03, 2005

A Black Day for Sausage

Given that the United World Federation of Triskaidekaphobia Headquarters is 50% vegetarian and 100% Polish, you can bet the staff was pretty excited about the announcement that there was now… Vegetarian Kielbasa.

For those several of you that don’t know, Kielbasa is more than just a joke word for penis. Kielbasa is, basically, the Polish word for sausage, and yes, this Polish Sausage is actually different than normal, everyday, comes-with-eggs-and-toast, sausage.

For most of Triskaidekaphobia’s life, kielbasa has been seen in two varieties: 1: Smoked and 2: Zombie. “Zombie” is sometimes also referred to as “Unsmoked”. “Zombie” kielbasa looks like a pile of intestines stuffed with meat, which of course it is, but that a further step has been taken where the intestines have then been thrown in the water, then buried, then reanimated to wander the earth, terrorizing poor dzieci every Easter. This is Unappetizing. But now there is a third variety: Vegetarian. Our minds reeled.

After procuring the product (scored from the ever-helpful Lexington Coop), arrangements were made for a test dining. Potatoes were corralled, dishes were cleaned, and excitement was in the air. President’s Day seemed like a good day to try it. Not only would the staff be liberated from working on a Federal holiday, but, we would also be liberating ourselves from a Kielbasa-less existance, much like Abraham Lincoln’s decision to liberate the slaves (except with much less gunplay than in the 1860s). Capital.

The dinner was made by half of our staff. The other half stayed out of the way. A not-so-encouraging fact about this kielbasa is its maker: Turtle Island Foods, the same company that makes the almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Turkey faux-Turkey product Tofurkey. Giving them the benefit of the doubt on taste, the second red wiener-shaped flag was the look. This kielbasa (vegetarian) didn’t look like Smoked or Zombie kielbasa. It sort of looked like plastic hot dogs. With speckles in it. Except less real. Still, as most vegetarians and vegans know, you can’t judge faux food on its looks alone. Optimism hummed through the air.

Sitting down to eat in the World-Famous Triskaidekaphobia Food Distribution Center and Olde-Fashioned Canteenery, our knives and forks hovered in nervous glee. We dug in. The verdict? It can be summed up in three words that have become a mantra for our times:

What. The. Fuck.

As in: what the fuck is this? While not entirely terrible on its own (although by no means something we’d want to eat again), it is NOTHING LIKE kielbasa. At least, nothing like the kielbasa that the Triskaidekaphobian Staff has come to know and love, nor like any kielbasa we’ve ever observed anyone else (Polish-American or otherwise) eating. That’s a lot of meat eaters. That also means there was a pretty big discrepancy between what we expected, and what we were eating.

“I don’t think it’s really that good,” said one frustrated diner.

“I think you may be entirely correct,” responded a companion.

Luckily, there were potatoes. Luckily, there was bread. Luckily, only one package of the stuff was bought, and not a case of it (50 packages x 4 sausage per package = a lifetime of kielbasa-based misery).

So let this be a warning: Do not buy Tofurkey Vegetarian Kielbasa. The only instances you should buy it are if you are plotting revenge on someone, or are a masochist of the Polish palette.

Let this also be an open letter to Turtle Island Foods: If you want to learn how (normal) kielbasa tastes, please come to Buffalo, NY. Specifically, talk to either Redlinski’s or go to the Broadway Market. Thanks.

So, with our sausage dreams scraped into the garbage bag of hope, we returned to dreaming of a day, some day, when either Morningstar Farms or Quorn or Amy’s Kitchen will discover the true meaning of kielbasa.

Oh well. At least until then we can still look at this, and watch this:

A dancing sausage

posted at 04:07 PM | find it forever

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