In New Wine Wednesday

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.

Showing 9 comments
  • Gwen

    Such a beautiful tradition!!! Thank you for this loving article!

    • Alyssa Bormes

      Thank you – it is one of my favorite things to do each year.

  • Lindalee Miller-Nelson

    Love hearing about such lovely and heartfelt memories and traditions. Thank you for sharing your. God’s Blessings and Peace. Lindalee

    • Alyssa Bormes

      Thank you for your comments – I’m so grateful to my parents and grandparents!

  • Kathy Moser

    I also wanted to share this story, since it’s about a mom:
    It’s from 7 SECRETS OF THE EUCHARISTand St Therese’s writing about receiving her first communion– “As she prepared to receive Christ, the young mystic realized that, not only was the Trinity about to dwell in her but …all of heaven would come to her, too. During the ceremony, she was moved to tears, which some people misinterpreted, thinking she was sad because her mother had died and wasn’t there to share this special moment with her. But Therese writes:
    ‘It was beyond them that all the joy of heaven had entered one small, exiled heart, and that it was too weak to bear it without tears. As if the absence of my mother could make me unhappy on the day of my first Communion! As all of heaven entered my soul when I received Jesus, my mother came to me as well.’ ”
    So beautiful what happens at communion time–even all the souls in heaven who we have lived with and love come to be with us!!

    • Alyssa Bormes

      I love this! Thank you for sharing it!

  • Kathy Rasmussen

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tradition. These traditions help us to remember our loved ones and keep them close in our hearts. Safe travels to SD (my home state). I love your articles! Keep writing and sharing God’s love.
    Blessed & Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Alyssa Bormes

      Ah – another South Dakotan – always a good thing! So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for your comments!

  • Laurie Larson

    Love this — beautiful! The guest book sounds especially meaningful. Thanks for sharing.

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