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Survival Tip: Learn To Make Sausages

Photo: Paul Lowry/Flickr

Sausages are ready for their extreme close-up. Alongside a slate of films that explore the theme of survival, the upcoming 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam will hold clinics to teach "modern individuals how to repair, refurbish, and produce things artisanally, as a response to overdependence on consumer technology in an age of economic downturn." This includes a goose and boar sausage-making demonstration by Rotterdam-based Wild Vleesch.

Since Toronto sure loves its cased meat, Eater asked a couple local artisans why sausage making is a good skill to have, and how sausages can teach people life lessons beyond grinding meat.

Jason Teasdale, Head Butcher at Vince Gassparo's Quality Meats, is a twenty-five veteran in the meat trade, and has made more sausages than he cares to mention. But he's still a fan because they "take advantage of the snout-to-tail mentality. You use all the bits and pieces that might not make a meal; vegetable scraps, and whatever flavourings you have laying around."

For Mario Garisto, owner of Sorella Toronto – a new sausage company in a very soft launch phase – agrees that the process teaches an invaluable set of life-enhancing skills: "It teaches you how to butcher; to respect the food you are butchering; and how to handle a knife. You can also survive on sausage everyday because of the solid protein, and it's super cheap to make."

Teasdale also highlights the price point: "As soon as the economy dips, we sell a ton of ground beef and sausages. Someone buying sausages can be the first indication that they've lost their job!"

Garisto learned how to make sausages at ten years-old, surrounded by his parents, eight aunts, two uncles, and the collective wisdom of Southern Italy. They instructed him not to cut corners, and unlike Teasdale's philosophy, that the sausage is not a dumping ground for every orphaned ingredient. As Garisto says: "You don't need a lot of things to make food good and sustainable."

If the world goes completely off the rails, average citizens might take up sausage making as a handy survival technique. In the meantime, for the aspiring makers out there, Garisto offers this sage sausage slash life advice: "Have a set process, be organized, and be clean."

Restaurants and butchers interested in Sorella Toronto's sausages may contact Mario Garisto for samples at (647) 773-2582 or sorellatoronto@gmail.com. For their full array of sausages, visit Vince Gassparo's Quality Meats, located at 857 Bloor St. West (at Roxton). Their Italian sausage is a feature ingredient served at Pizzeria Via Mercante in Kensington Market.

Information about The Healthy Butcher's hugely popular Live To Eat Seminars can be found here. Warning: classes are sold out until March 2014.

· IFFR Shows How To Survive