Hurka (pronounced, who-rrr-ka , with a trill on the r and all run together)is a sausage that my mother baked for my father and I once in awhile – she fixed an alternative dish for herself and my sister. The last time I had this mouth-watering treat was while I was convalescing from surgery at my father’s house about seventeen years ago.
Since I remember this dinner as something of a regular on our family menu, I was somewhat surprised and disappointed to find that when I moved away and lived in different locations I never found that sausage anywhere else. Nor was I ever able to find city chicken or breast of veal beyond my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio borders.
When I moved back to Ohio I was thrilled to find hurka available in various meat markets that I shopped at, but to my disappointment, they were never as good as the ones I remembered, like many things from childhood that no longer exist, or have radically changed. The one my father last fixed for us to dine on came from the West Side Market, home of many ethnic foods, fresh fruit and produce.
Last weekend my cousin, Randy, who lives in South Carolina, was in town for a visit – he picked up a hurka on a whim at the West Side Market, thinking of cooking it once he returned home. He left it in his sister’s freezer for the week but came to realize that on the long drive home, even in a cooler, the sausage might not make it, so he offered it to me since his sister has no taste for that treat. I happily put the hurka into my fridge while he and I went out and about for the better part of the day. The next day I baked the sausage along with a sweet potato and looked forward to dinner.
Some of the mild spices tasted familiar, but it was not otherwise like the last one my dad baked, nor the ones my mother used to prepare for us. I was glad to have it, but I won’t be making any special trips to the West Side Market to buy another.