From the Nov. 30, 1928 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Cool, frosty mornings bring most people from their beds with an appetite for breakfast, particularly those who spend their days in the open air. And cool, frosty weather also sound the doom of the pen-fed porker who has been putting on fat through all the hot months, carefully fed and cared for by his owner in anticipation of the joyous moon when “native pork” is in season.

There is only one kind or grade of sausage. If it is right, it is sausage. If not, it is anything that outraged humanity can think of and the stronger the language, the more appropriate it sounds.

It is believed by many, that old New Englanders who made their supply of sausage on the farms, never started the operation without first offering up a fervent prayer. However that may be, this rule will hold reasonably good now and forever. No man can make good sausage unless he is honest and if he is honest, he is probably more or less religious.

The sausage turned out in the United States in the course of a year’s time, would, according to expert compilation, reach from here to the moon three times, encircle the globe in four laps with enough left to furnish meals three times a day for a month for the entire standing army.

You can buy it anywhere and most of it is good but it lacks that indescribable flavor that comes from handling the pieces of meat separately and affectionately, piling them together as they are cut, with a kindly hand and pressing them into the grinder with a hopeful gesture.

These things are supplied in such places as the Vineyard where the native pork, a few hours removed from the pen, is brought into the local grocery stores and sold.

The groceryman begins his work with a look of mingled hope and worriment upon his honest face which is the only proper spirit in which to begin sausage-making.

The meat is spread out and sprinkled freely with fine salt. No one who has not cooked would believe that so much salt is necessary in seasoning food. The meat is then rolled around until every part bears its share of the salt, when the seasoning is shaken over it in profusion and the groceryman looks more haggard and worried than ever. He shakes a bit more of the seasoning, looks at it, shakes his head sadly, puts on a bit more, turns pale and shivers a bit and then puts the box back on the shelf.

Nothing unmanly about these fears, gentle reader, the groceryman is probably a sausage eater himself and knows what the consequences will be if he fails to season it properly. Nations have fallen because of poor seasoning and he is patriotic as well as honest.

With gentle hands he begins to turn the pieces of meat over and over, striving to spread the seasoning fairly upon the entire surface of each piece of meat. He rolls them and mixes, he pulls the meat up in a pile and then with tears in his eyes, looks at it carefully to see if by any chance, the seasoning lies too thick in any spots.

He fails to find any such evidence of hasty mixing and pulls the meat together in a pile again, picking it up carefully and stacking it upon a tray. All the while he whistles to keep his nerves from cracking under the strain.

Why this nervousness and fear? Listen, all cooks and chefs; how far could you go in building any highly-spiced dish if you couldn’t taste it once in a while to get your proper bearings? Now you understand.

He starts his grinding machine. Perhaps it is an electrically driven one, all machines are, but in many small mainland towns, a boy will turn the crank.

As the machinery revolves, the grocer drops in a few broken crackers to clear out any trace of other meats, for he is an honest man as before-mentioned, and this is “pork sausage.” Then with an anguished look upon his features he drops his first handful of sausage meat into the machine and staggers back to the wall to stand shuddering as it passes through.

There is a popping noise in the machine, the meat disappears, then a slight hissing sound is heard and the streams of ground meat begin to thrust themselves through the “sizer.” The grocer looks at it fearsomely. Gathering himself together like a man about to undergo a fearsome ordeal, he steps to the machine with a firm tread and a steady hand but pallid countenance, picks up a bit of the ground meat and tastes it. He chews slowly, while a smile spreads across his face. The saints be praised, it is right! Now, all on earth is well and he falls to and runs the remainder of the meat through the machine to the accompaniment of his whistling and joyous comments to the rest of the store force.

In an hour’s time the pyramid of meat, labeled, “Freshly Ground Sausage Meat” and decorated with cranberries, is being weighed out to the customers whose hearts will be lightened and lives prolonged by the eating, and who will never know that its making is a cause of the new lines in the groceryman’s face and the increasing grayness of his hair.

Compiled by Hilary Wall