30 December 2008

Kielbasa, Jalapeño, and the Essence of Life

I love living in Mexico. This country is now my home and I have no desire to live anywhere else. There are very few things that I miss about living in the United States except for things like Kielbasa (Polish sausage), sour kraut, and kosher dill pickles. The other day I found all three in a supermarket in León. Thanks to Almighty God and Globalization my life is now almost complete. “What?”, I hear you say. “What do you mean by 'almost' complete?”. Well, if I could just find a loaf of that nice Chicago Augusta rye bread with the shiny hard crust and the caraway seeds then my life would be truly complete...I think. Hmmm, just now thinking about it perhaps there are also a few other things but in any case the first three items will do for now. I am going to eat Polish sausage and sour kraut on New Years Eve in memory of "Auld Lang Syne" or as we say in modern English, in memory of “days gone by". There is only one catch. As you can see in the photo below the label on the Kielbasa says:

“Salchicha Ahumada Tipo Polaca Con Chile Jalapeño”
Polish Style Smoked Sausage With Chili Jalapeño

That's okay. Bring it on. There is poetic justice in that. Kielbasa and Jalapeño are the boiled down essence of my life. After all...I'm a Chicago boy of Polish heritage living in Mexico.

Click on photo to enlarge.

8 comments:

glorv1 said...

Bob, is it for real that you cannot acquire certain food items there? If there was something your really want to eat real bad and couldn't get it there, isn't there someone in Chicago who would send it to you? Wouldn't dry ice keep it for a while? I can't think of not having what I am so used to. I would have an awfully hard time. But you know what Bob, that looks pretty tasty there and I hope you do enjoy that on New Year Eve or Day. I guess you can't mail food. Got spam? I have about ten cans right now.:)HAPPY NEW YEARS!!

Alfredo said...

Bob,
Ever since I came to the United States I crave for "joconostles". You know, those sour cactus pears that grow in the Bajío's hills. The day before yesterday I went to Yakima. There at Yakimex store found them. This is the second time in twelve years I see them in Washington State. In beautiful Chicago, all mexican stores have them and cheap. Can you make col agria? Is there any polish stores in Mexico city? I miss the tomato bread from D'amatos bakery on Milwaukee Ave. They have the best. I am glad you found at least those items in León, your life is almost complete, lol.

ken kushnir said...

That's why I learned to make my own Garlic Dill Pickles, Sour Kraut and make my own old Russian style loaded with garlic pork sausage. That's what we need to do, start an gourmet food import business, eh?
If I was a little younger. Now if we could only find some Philly Steaks?
Happy New Year, Bob! Eat well and healthy!

YayaOrchid said...

Bob, just curious about flour available in Mexico. Is there any rye flour available? I'm wondering if there are any Jewish bakeries? That would seem like a great place to find specialty foods.

Bob Mrotek said...

Gloria, Alfredo, Ken, and Yaya. Bless your hearts my friends for worrying about me. I could probably find what I want in Mexico City or Guadalajara but that is still a long way to go for a jar of pickles or a loaf of bread. I am just very thankful to have what I've got and more than anything that means amigos like you :)

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Bob, I bought Polish sausage (Johnsonville brand)and S&W sauerkraut at Comercial Mexicana the week before Christmas. They had some other brands but this one looked the best.
I tried to make sauerkraut one year but Mérida is too darn warm (our average temperature is 80 F)and my refrigerator is too cold and too small.
No rye flour here, but I do make a caraway potato bread that is quite good.
regards,
Theresa

Michael Warshauer said...

I've made kosher style dill pickles at home here in the Pátzcuaro area. The problem is that the cucubers are too large, seedy and watery. The pickles taste great, but they quickly turn to mush.

The Johnsonville Polish sausages are not top notch, but will pass. I actually prefer Obertal Chorizos Argentinos. Costco carries them in Morelia.

I made corned beef (brined it, etc) twice. The second time was great, but the plastic bag containing the brisket in its brine took up an entire produce drawer in my fridge. This is not something you want to do often.

Sour, hard crusted rye bread is more challenging. I can get rye flour and caraway seeds at "La Frontera", on Plaza Carillo at Calle Abasolo in Morelia. Often they have gluten flour to help strengthen the rye dough.

Then you have to develop a sourdough starter.This takes several days.

Then after carefully mixing and kneading the dough, and carefully proofing the loaves, you need to bake them in a very hot oven with a burst of steam at the beginning. That is very hard to achieve effectively in a home oven.

Nevertheless, the bread tastes great, if lacking a hard, shiny crust.

Buen provecho,
Mike

Bob Mrotek said...

Thanks Mike,
At the very least you made me hungry :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.