40 Days & 40 Nights

Sunday, October 18, 2009

That's how long it will take us to eat all the Bigos I made. Bigos, you ask? Well, I had never heard of it either until I came upon this captivating post by Pauline at Classy Chaos. I adore Pauline and even though she makes it sound like a dirty thing to feed your kids pizza, I still respect her. Chris and I enjoy ethnic foods. And we love pork. And sauerkraut. We LOVE sauerkraut. So with her endorsement and direction along with my full-fledge excitement over all that pork and sauerkraut, I set out. To make my own Bigos. I hastily wrote out the ingredients and intructions on paper and put them aside to shop in the afternoon, at about 4pm, when Katie would get home from school.

Chapter 1 - Dried Plums

The recipe call for dried plums. Under the surface, I felt a nervousness throughout the day. Where the heck was I going to get dried plums? I tweeted to OHmommy (Pauline) begging for her assistance and was ignored. Probably because she didn't think it was a question worth answering. Or maybe she though it was a joke. Later in the day I tried again, something to the tune of "Dried plums. Where to buy? Respond. Can raisins be used instead?" She finally sent me a direct tweet "My girlfriend did use plums. Can you find prunes? Like bigger raisins. Let me know how it works out."

I believe she sent me a direct tweet so as not to mock me out in public. Because guess what? Dried plums are freaking prunes. A wave of embarrassment washed over me as I found myself in the raisin aisle at the supermarket and found bag after bag that said "Dried Plums". All of them prunes. But guess what? Marinka didn't know either. I had mentioned my Bigos w/ prunes on twitter. With all of her quick wit, I naturally assumed that she was making fun of me when she asked me why I didn't just use dried plums. And then, completely out of character, OHmommy chimed in and laughed at us both for not knowing that dried plums were prunes.

Chapter 2 - What was I thinking?

When I read Marinka's post here about starting her new crockpot recipe, I laughed about her being so excited to use her new crockpot that she began to cook at 8pm. Yet, I chose to go to the store at 4pm to shop for ingredients for a stew. I figured, home by 5pm - food done by about 7:00 or 7:30pm. The kids won't want to eat it anyway. We can have a nice luxurious meal once the kids are in bed. Little did I know that the luxurious meal would be hastily eaten at 10pm prior to me passing out from starvation. I failed to take into consideration that I would need more than 1/2 hour between steps of the recipe to cart groceries in from car, feed the kids dinner, keep a teething crying baby happy, reset the tv with a new show for Katie every 25 minutes, AND actually do the meal preparation.

Chapter 3 - More Doubts

Chris hates stews with fruit in them. Will he even eat this, with all the dried plums? I'll put in a little less than the picture shows.

Why oh why did I embark on a recipe without actual measurements? I am a CPA - was an auditor for 8 years. I need rules. I need to follow explicit directions. All I have to go on is pictures! How many pounds of pork is that OHmommy? I longed to e-mail and ask, but was so embarrased about the dried plum/prune debacle that I didn't dare. Is it 4 lbs? That's what I got. Oh, and equal lbs. sausage to pork? Another 4 lbs. You say just a dash of each of the spices, but it looks like so much in the picture. Was that just for picture taking effect?

Oh no, the meat is already taking up half of my pot. Ok, I'll use about 3lbs of each. I don't know why I do this-cook enough to feed 20 people every time I'm cooking from scratch. I suppose it's because I really want my efforts to be appreciated. Over and over again.

OHmommy used 3 pieces of bacon, but it looks like I have more meat; I'll use 5 pieces to compensate. Oh wait, am I supposed to cook the bacon first to make it crispy? She didn't say to, I'll just cut it up and put it in raw.

Chapter 4 - Smoked sausage and other mistakes

I've also never bought smoked sausage before. Recently I've begun trying to be a little more conscious of ingredients and staying away from corn syrup, especially high fructose. However, I learned that there were only 2 types of smoked sausage offered at my supermarket. Those with corn syrup and those made with cow heart's. I opted for the corn syrup.

When realizing I still had to get a separate dinner prepared for the kids and that I bought way too much pork and smoked sausage I decided that the kids would have "hot dogs" (smoked sausage) for dinner. No complaints from them. I knew the stew would be done much later than expected since the pot was full to the tippy top. While I was waiting, I ate half of a leftover cooked smoked sausage. Mistake. I am certain that I tasted minced bone in there and spit it all into the garbage. Blah!!!

I also freaked for the final hour or so because there was so much in the pot that I could barely stir it and I was convinced that it would all burn on the bottom.

This was the period of time that I began tweeting of my error in judgment and my fear of a disastrous outcome.

Chapter 5- Bigos is Ready!

It was pretty yummy!

I chose to add cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. It was a good thing since the mushrooms served an important role of disguising the mushy rubbery bacon as a possible mushroom. The crunchy sauerkraut disguised any bone crunch of the sausage. Chris loved it! Timmy loved his meal of leftovers the following day. I know enough to not even attempt offering it to Katie. The texture hodgepodge would be her mental undoing.


We have been eating leftovers for days now. Or rather, I should say that Chris has. Although I did quite enjoy it for dinner that first night, I can't let go of my flashbacks of eating the smoked sausage on it's own. I've actually had a nightmare about it, so I can't bring myself to eat any of the leftovers. Since Chris and Timmy enjoyed it so much I may try it again in the future. Maybe with kielbasa instead of the cow heart-free smoked sausage. I may fry up the bacon a little first, too. I think I'll use a bit more dried plums. Oh, and maybe not rinse off the sauerkraut. I missed it's yummy sour taste.


Marinka October 18, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

So funny!

You have to be careful with Pauline's recipe posts because she uses her daughter in the photos to make it appear all fun and adorable!

SkinnyMeg October 18, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

I just happened across your blog and I love this post. You are too funny!!

Anonymous,  October 18, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

funny...pete saw the pic and was like "mmmm whats that?" i didnt tell him about the sausage!

OHmommy October 18, 2009 at 8:00 PM  

First off.... you can ALWAYS email me. Sometimes Im not on twitter but always get email on my phone. Silly. I would have been happy to talk.

Second off... I hate anything mathematical and precise. Lol. I never stopped to think that people who like precise measurements would be pissed off at my recipes. Hahaha.

So glad you tried it though. ;) Funny funny post!

Unknown October 18, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

Oh stop, I wasn't pissed at your recipe...only my own creative shortcomings ;) I really did like it, though and with the right sausage I would have eaten it all myself and fought to the death for the leftovers! While I was preparing it I was thinking how good it would be with some white potatoes chunks, but I was really suprised at how thoroughly filling it was without any full out carbs in there.

debi9kids October 19, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

HOLY! My mouth is hanging open! I have only been saying to avoid HFCS for years... glad you are making the move. It will make a big difference in how you feel :)

PS Glad you decided to make this recipe. I know you said you wanted to.

Oh, and can not believe you have never bought smoked sausage before!

Unknown October 19, 2009 at 8:50 AM  

Nope Debi - we're an italian sausage eating family. Or chicken sausage or kielbasa - but never actually bought "smoked sausage".

Lisa October 19, 2009 at 9:32 AM  

Time to break out the crockpot!

Love hearing about the adventure!!

Anonymous,  October 19, 2009 at 1:38 PM  

funny :)

Scary Mommy October 19, 2009 at 3:04 PM  

LOL, love this post!!! And you are brave for attempting it-- I read about it and was too big of a baby to try!

Hit 40 October 19, 2009 at 10:50 PM  

This meal took a serious commitment!! I would freeze the leftovers for your husband to enjoy in anther month. He will think that you just cooked it!!

Unknown October 19, 2009 at 11:12 PM  

I normally would freeze the leftovers, but I was afraid that the sauerkraut wouldn't freeze and reheat too well.

I came to a great comprise today though. I actually ate leftovers and let Timmy ("the food moocher") eat all the sausage out of it.

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