Food-O-File

For the 20th year, potted pork products are a sure sign of spring in Austin, Texas. The world-famous annual SPAMARAMA™ takes place this weekend, Saturday, March 28, from noon-6pm, at Auditorium Shores. According to the Potentate of Potted Pork Parties, David Arnsberger, this year's party will feature not only the usual SPAM™ cookoff, the grueling SPAMALYMPICS™, and the always entertaining SPAM™Jam, but an even larger children's area and more arts and craft vendors are promised. Odds are that SPAMERICA™'s Cup holder David Spooner will defend his culinary title against the always competitive Chef SPAM™ himself, John Myers of the Yellow Rose. Live music will be provided by the Uranium Savages with Floyd Domino, the Gonzo Compadres with Lloyd Maines, Cornell Hurd, the Brothers and Sisters from Bowie High, and several mystery guests. As if all that weren't enough, copies of SPAMARAMA™ The Cookbook (Whole Hog, $19.95 paper) will be on sale all day. For more information, check out their website at http://www.spamarama.com where you'll find the '97 results as well as information about how to tune into the live Internet broadcast from Auditorium Shores, thanks to John Booher and the Magical Band at the Wizard of Austin. Once again, half the proceeds from all this potted pork tomfoolery will benefit a worthy cause, United Cerebral Palsy of the Capital Area.

On a more serious note, Infinitec Inc., a national assistive technology project created by United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago and United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc., of Washington, D.C., has posted a new special section entitled Accessible Kitchens on its website. The website - http://www.infinitec.org - serves people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. The new section offers a complete survival guide to the kitchen, arguably the most difficult room in the house to negotiate with a physical challenge. In this section, visitors can take a tour of the latest no-cost tips, such as kitchen gadgets, sinks, and appliances reconstructed for accessibility. Moreover, the site includes detailed descriptions of cooking and eating utensils for persons with disabilities, plus information about manufacturers specializing in adaptive products, guidelines for hiring a contractor, and ideas for funding options. Site visitors can also learn about shopping services and useful daily living aids.

Purely by coincidence, this week's column has another item which is pork-related. In anticipation of its upcoming 50th Anniversary, Meyer's Elgin Sausage will be opening Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse (188 Hwy 290E, 281-3331), a barbecue smokehouse and retail market just 20 minutes from downtown Austin. The proprietors are Gregg and Gary Meyer, who belong to the third generation of the Meyer family to operate the famous sausage business. At the smokehose, the brothers will be serving their bestselling garlic pork sausage, plus beef sausage, ribs, brisket, smoked turkey, beef jerky, turkey jerky, beans, potato salad, creamed corn, pickles, onions, and white bread (a must with Texas barbecue). Also featured will be their Grandma Meyer's heirloom fat-free barbecue sauce, which they're bottling and selling at the restaurant as well as at most of Austin's major grocery stores. Meyer's Elgin Sausage was founded by R.G. Meyer in 1949; this year, the business expects to ship more than 1.4 million pounds of smoked meat products around the world. That's a serious amount of sausage.

And Meyer's is just one of Elgin's serious purveyors of sausage - in addition to it and the new Meyer's smokehouse, count in Southside Market & BBQ (1212 Hwy 290, 285-3407) and Crosstown BBQ (211 Central Ave., 281-5594). Must be why the Texas Legislature proclaimed Elgin the Sausage Capital of Texas in 1995.

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