Hi ya'll. This here's Luleen Wallerstein comin' atcha from the sunny side of the Ozark Mountains. Ya'll might remember me as "Luleen, Luleen the Wallerin' Queen," or as the waitress from Vic's Biker Bar breakfast shift. Any which way, I'm fillin' in for Miss Lucy again; this time, while she's on her annual Thanksgiving trek to Tennessee.
She called up on Monday to so-licit my professional help, and I said sure, because I've been doin' a lot of thinking lately about Vienna sausages, and how Spam gets all the PR, even though it's just a congealed lump of animal this-that-and-the-other.
But Vienna sausages come seven to a can, plump and pinkish-gray, in no less than 23 varieties. Moist and juicy in a bath of yellow gel, with rounded ends and velvety texture, even a person missin' some teeth can successfully chew them. é─˛Sides, a Vienna sausage goes down smoother than my Aunt Otha's liver pudding.
Speaking of Aunt Otha, I fried up some Spam and Vienna sausages and did a little taste test on her and Uncle Earl Ray. They ate ever last bite of both; claimed it all tasted like chicken. But the Vienna sausages, they said, had the tang of a corn raised, choppin' block bird, whilst the Spam had the flavor of mechanically separated foul.
Uncle Earl Ray raved on like a rooster on a fence post about those Viennas, é─˛til I saw fit to give him my secret recipe for Vienna Sausage Boat Food: Pop open a can of Vienna sausages. Pull one out, suck off the jelly and lick yer fingers, mmm-good. Take out yer dull pocket knife - the one for scalin' fish and cleanin' fingernails - and slice that sucker in half, longways. Now, spread a dollop of Frenches yellow mustard on a saltine cracker - it's okay if yer boat leaks and yer crackers get a little wet, it adds zest. Lay that sausage across the mustard. Enjoy.
Poke those fancy colored toothpicks in a few and serve them as hor-day-ooveras for yer next pig pickin' or weddin' reception, or to enter them at the county fair. Getting them right can be tricky, however, so practice in yer boat first.
Aunt Otha, recognizin' my devotion to the Vienna sausage, asked me if I dispose of the packagin' in my burnin' barrel. I said, "Heck no. Why would someone want to burn perfectly good home d×ęcor materials?" And right there I pulled out a few empty Vienna sausage multi-can boxes.
Aunt Otha watched in amazement as I quickly worked, attaching those boxes one to the other and coverin' them with Sunday comics. When I finished I set it on the counter and put her salt and pepper and season-all in it. She grinned from ear to ear and exclaimed, "These single wides come with everthin' but a spice rack!"
We sat and chatted a while longer before Aunt Otha said, "I've got somethin' to tell you, but you cain't say it to no one yet. Yer cousin Hortel is havin' triplets."
"Goodness," I said, "and so soon after the twins. I would guess after nine youngins she's runnin' out of names."
Aunt Otha shifted the plug of snuff behind her lip, spit and nodded sadly.
"Well," I said, clasping my hands together, always eager to help, "I know just what she needs to do. She should name them Vy-anna, Vee-ehnna, and Vy-eenna."
Now try doing that with Spam.
And Lord have mercy, don't even get me started on what I can do with a Vienna sausage and a Thanksgiving turkey.
Happy Thanksgiven, ya'll!