My aunt and uncle gave us a gift certificate to (a small, local-to-my-dad's-childhood, purveyor of preserved meat products) Cattaneo Brothers as a Christmas present.
We opted into the Sausage Variety Pack.
And, it has been the holiday gift that has continued to give the most enjoyment of all the gifts we received.
We don't regularly cook with non-cheese animal protein other than what's in the fridge due to recent gifts or recipe purchases. So, since the start of 2013, we haven't bought any eggs or animal/fish meat of any kind. Instead, every time we've been craving protein in a home-cooked meal, we've dug into the sausage stash that showed up after we placed our order and composed a solution:
So far, this year we've had (and served guests):
cheesy tomato millet risotto, revived by quickly tossing with sauteed,
steamed and sliced Cattaneo Brothers Italian Sausage (no guests, but
wife of the week award on turning a "not my favorite vegetarian meal"
into "you are the best", right here!)
2. Baked brussels sprouts, topped with slices of steamed/sauteed
Cattaneo Brothers swiss sausage (plus all the goodness from deglazing
the sausage cooking pan with white wine), and broiled to perfection.
(Hit with the guest!)
3. Baked broccoli, onions, garlic, and 3 links of caballero sausage
slices. Regularly tossed during the cooking process, and eventually
broiled prior to serving.
4. One link of
caballero sausage, sliced and wok-sauteed with onions and garlic 'til
cooked through, then tossed with sliced red swiss chard, leftovers of
#3, and covered to steam for tonight's dinner. Delicious!
And we still have one link of Caballero plus an entire package of Linguica to go.
In short -- small, local, artisanal preserved meat product producers can bring much joy when their products are given as gifts.
That is all.