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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/04/2011 (4259 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The question:

OUR political columnist, Dan Lett, writes a blog called The Sausage Factory. Why is it called that? Is it because so many politicians are wieners? Sunday Xtra visited some of the best sausage factories in the city to try to get to the bottom of this.

The investigation:

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Bogdan Barczak at Karpaty Meats and Deli at 536 Bannerman Ave. His secret is using 'the right meat.'

FIRST stop was Tenderloin Meat and Sausage at 1483 Main St.

Walter Klopick started the business in 1985. Now sons Zenon and Chris run things, but their dad taught them well: “Father instilled in us the philosophy that quality is everything,” said Zenon.

Thousands of customers appreciate it. The shop sells up to 3,000 kobassa a week. Last Christmas, in a two week window, the shop sold 25,000.

Tenderloin’s garlic rings have circled the world — literally. On a large wall map, hundreds of thumbtacks mark the places customers have chowed down on them. There aren’t many bare patches. Tenderloin kobassa is so popular, Klopick says, because it’s made of lean sirloin pork (you can see the big chunks of tenderloin in the coarse-ground kobassa), real garlic “plus our secret spices. No MSG, flour, soy or binders. Just meat and spices. There’s no scrap meat here.”

Nope, unlike Canadian voters, customers at Tenderloin don’t have to fight over scraps.

OUR next stop was Karpaty Meats and Deli at 536 Bannerman Ave., a place that just might make the best polish sausage in the city.

How does a sausage factory get such a reputation? “It happens,” said Bogdan Barczak, who started the business with his brother Adam in 1998. His philosophy is simple: “Meat shouldn’t be abused by spices too much.”

Barczak, who came to Winnipeg from Poland 20 years ago, takes pride in using the “right meat. Not always leanest is best.”

Barczak and his employees make 30 items on site, but they don’t make any of them in big batches, and they don’t sell them wholesale to any other stores. That’s because he uses no preservatives.

“I want to know that my products are always fresh. Some of the meats in (a grocery store) … the best-before date might be three months away.”

It’s interesting that he brought up the subject of expiry dates. They have become a bit of an election issue. Shelly Glover, who at 44 is the Tory MP for St. Boniface, recently described Liberal MP Anita Neville, 68, as having “passed her expiry date.”

Is it possible she confused Neville with a sausage?

OUR last stop was European Meats, at 533 Burrows Ave., which makes, among lots of other things, the best Hungarian sausages in town. What distinguishes a Hungarian sausage? Mainly the garlic and paprika, said Nancy Zanella, who works the front counter. And if it’s a hot Hungarian sausage, it’s the cayenne.

She selected a pair of mild smoked Hungarian sausages hanging from a rack behind her.

“Don’t keep them wrapped,” she said. The best thing to do is keep them hanging. They can last for months that way.

Yep, just hang them out to dry — the same as should be done with some of our politicians.

The conclusion:

These three home-grown businesses set a pretty high standard for yumminess. What possibly do they have to do with politics?

Well, the online Urban Dictionary cleared that up. It says the phrase sausage factory refers to an unpleasant process, especially one that is hidden from public view, that is used to produce a widely consumed product: lots of people like sausage, but few would enjoy watching leftover animal parts ground up to make it.

Given all of the stuff that led to the Harper government being found in contempt of parliament, that seems like a pretty apt description of current politics. Ottawa’s shenanigans are an insult to real sausage factories.

But, as long as we are free to enjoy the delicacies Tenderloin Meat and Sausage, Karpaty Meats and Deli and European Meats create, all we can say is… what a great country. Is it too late to add these folks to the ballot?

— David Connors, a downtown dweller

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