Sausage Sizzle: Week 211

A patriotic car outside the Newtown Public Polling Place: Sydney, Australia

One of the most cherished election activities in Australia is sadly unknown in the US. It has to do with fundraising, but it’s not the kind of money that bankrolls political candidates or sways public policy. In its purest form it involves a bunch of volunteers roasting sausages on their BBQs. However, different permutations involve cake stalls, bake stalls, raffles, boot sales, fetes, mini-fetes, and sausage sizzle-cake-raffle stalls.

“Are you here to vote?” One of the party workers asked as Barret and I approached the gate to the Newtown Public Polling Place.

“No,” I replied. “I’m here to sausage sizzle.”

Voters outside the Newtown Public Polling Place: Sydney, Australia

Sausage sizzles are a cherished form of fundraising by school associations and community groups. There’s even a website that tracks which polling places are offering which food and you can bet the sausage sizzles are reviewed in the post-election news coverage.

I picked Newtown Public because it was close to my house, but I only found out later on the Sydney Morning Herald that the Erskineville Public had vegetarian options and halloumi on their burgers! I kind of wish I had known this beforehand.

Cake Stall at Newtown Public: Sydney Australia

Anyways, Barret had a burger and I went to the cake stall for a glass of lemonade and a rice bubble treat. I talked to the volunteers for a bit until they were distracted by more voters coming out of the polling booth. Since we had completed our patriotic duty, we strolled off to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon. I really want this sausage sizzle thing to catch on back home.

About: Election Sausage Sizzles

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Kickstarter: Week 133

Lords and Ladies- a Kickstarter funded card game

The first time Barret explained Kickstarter to me, I just didn’t get it.

“What- you just give people money to do their job? Why would people pay for that?”

“No,” Barret patiently explained, “you are supporting artists. It’s kind of like being a patron.”

“Do you get something back?” I always thought that people only donated to charities and things like hurricane relief funds. It just didn’t seem easy to convince the average person to crowd fund a video game or comic book. I mean, the artists might be starving, but they didn’t look malnourished enough for me to part with $100 bucks.

My mind remained unchanged until game night at friend’s house. She had recently invested in a card game called Lords and Ladies that she had discovered on Kickstarter. The campaign had been successful, but until the product was delivered, she had a pdf version we could play.

We cut out the beautifully illustrated cards over glasses of wine and then spent the evening building aristocratic family legacies. The game was filled with forbidden love, illegitimate children and drunken servants. So this is what Kickstarter is all about… I was beginning to see the benefit in funding small, local designers and artists by pre-ordering their product.

Salty Road Taffy

That night I went home and browsed through all the Kickstarter categories for something that I felt was worthwhile. I sifted through magnetic pens, cork shoes and wallets until I found the perfect project- Salty Road Taffy.

The owners/candy makers Marisa and Carolyn are the only taffy makers in New York City. The entire production was local until demand outgrew their handmade operation. Once the taffy cutting and wrapping moved to Maine, their output went from four pieces a minute to 300.

Rosie, the old taffy puller

However, Salty Road Taffy wanted to be completely local again, which is why Marisa and Carolyn created their Kickstarter campaign. They were hoping to bring their entire production back to NYC with the purchase of a vintage Model K taffy cutter and an industrial strength taffy puller.

I am sure no one in NYC could disagree after reading descriptions like- “the taffy is soft and stretchy, creamy like a milkshake with a distinct salt crystal crunch and a true vanilla flavor achieved by adding real organic vanilla beans.” Yum.

Bergamot, peppermint, salty caramel apple, salty peanut, sea salt caramel, and vanilla- yes please! Unfortunately Salty Road Taffy doesn’t ship internationally, which means my parents will be so happy when that six-pack sampler finally arrives on their doorstep. They’re so lucky I’m a smart investor.

About:Kickstarter

About: Lords and Ladies

About: Salty Road Taffy

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