By Alyssa Bormes

My mother was never more beautiful then when she was in her work clothes ready to make sausage!

My family has been making pork sausage for 140 or 150 years. My mother’s maternal grandparents taught their eleven children, and eventually it was passed to us.

Here, let me give you the recipe: pork, salt, pepper, coriander, and then smoke it for 10 to 12 hours with apple wood. That’s it – nothing more. But the technique is important.

Oops…I forgot one thing. There is always some arguing. The matriarch usually has the last word – but since my mother died, my brother John and I just argue a bit with each other, and my stepdad adds a word or two as he sees necessary. It just makes the sausage taste better.

We have a guest book that friends sign when they come over. And, the same book is used for the recap of the year, especially the comments of family and friends who have joined us for the first brunch with the links right out of the smoke house.

Each year it is wonderful to look back on those who joined us. So many, like my father, mother, her brother, and my stepdad’s brother have died, not to mention all of the grandparents who gave us the tradition.

So in just a couple of days, I will journey back to South Dakota to make the sausage again. It is fitting that we make it in November, the month where we commemorate the dead. I will return home to visit the graves of my parents, and then I will go to my brother’s home. And somehow this year, John will look more like my father than ever, and I hope that I can be even half as radiant as my mother, and we will touch their souls in this 140ish-year-old recipe.


About the Author:

Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show,“Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at



Photo courtesy of Alyssa Bormes.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.