December 1, 2013--North Carolina is known for its barbecue and its sausage. ( I guess they raise a lot of hogs in the Carolinas.) Whenever we go up to see Jim's uncle in the northeastern part of the state, we stop at a little country butcher shop to buy freshly made pork sausage. The store is well known to the people around the countryside--so well known, in fact, that it doesn't even have a sign out front! And the sausage is out of this world--so fresh that the proprietor won't even sell sausage leftover in the case from the day before!
This trip we didn't have the opportunity to go up to see his uncle, but we did want to get some Carolina sausage. So, we decided to take a scenic route across country, driving through some little towns that might have a butcher shop similar to the one we were used to visiting.
As we were driving down a two-lane highway, Jim stopped at a gas station and asked if anyone knew of a good local butcher shop. Someone gave him directions to a shop in Angiers, a small town about five miles down the road.
When we got to the town, we passed one store, but Jim didn't think that was the one the fellow recommended. So, we kept driving. We came up to another store. He went in and inquired. No luck; no sausage. So we decided to go back to the one we passed.
Turns out that this little butcher shop, aptly called The Country Store, just opened about two weeks ago.The proprietors, a black family, had plenty of experience in meat cutting. They told us they wanted to go back to the "old ways" of cutting good meat to the customer's specifications, not just give them prepackaged stuff found in groceries. This little store wasn't the one that had been recommended, and that was probably a good thing. The butcher told us that the one we had been looking for was actually an IGA, and not all the meat and sausage were prepared on site.
When we asked about sausage, the butcher said he didn't have any, but if we would wait, he would mix some up for us. Talk about service! He ground the pork in front of us and added all the herbs and spices as we chatted with him. The cost? Well, it wasn't $3.98/pound like the Bob Evans sausage I buy at Publix. This freshly ground, very lean sausage was only $2.39/pound! I can't emphasize the fact that we saw exactly what was put into the sausage. No scraps; no mystery meat. We bought 10 pounds.
Waiting for the sausage cost us about an hour of time, but it was worth it. We ate some this morning with pancakes and eggs. Mmmm, mmmm, good. So lean there were no drippings in the fry pan.
Because we started out around 10 a.m. yesterday, and because we stopped for the sausage, then lunch, then diesel fill up (plus E85 for our car--only $2.59/gallon, thank you flex-fuel), we had a l-o-n-g day driving home. Several cups of strong black coffee kept Jim alert (I dozed), and we finally pulled into our storage home at about 11 p.m., after driving a total of 952 miles to and from Raleigh.
It was a great trip. Both of the cats behaved themselves (no fighting, no recalcitrant behavior). Charlie slept in my lap most of the way home; Xena slept in the front window for several hours. I miss my family already. I wish I could see them more often.
Our next trip? We will be going to a holiday party in West Palm in a couple of weeks, then we will spend a week in the Keys. We just plan to relax and fish and hopefully snorkel, if the weather is good and the water is warm. We will probably also go down to Key West, have a nice dinner, and visit the Truman White House, something we missed last trip down there.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer,