Jimmy Dean, who died on June 13 of this year, would have been 82 years old today, August 10. In honor of his birthday, I prepared his fabulous low fat turkey sausage for breakfast. To tell the truth, I have Jimmy Dean turkey sausage whenever I can get it. JImmy Dean fully cooked turkey sausage has only 60 calories per patty and has 60% less fat than regular pork sausage. Is that a deal or what? In my book, there is nothing better than a hearty breakfast sandwich of whole grain bread, turkey sausage, egg, tomato, and avocado. Jimmy Dean turkey sausage makes me smile.
Jimmy Dean did not start out as a sausage magnate. He was born in poverty in Plainview, Texas, and dropped out of school at the age of 16 to help support his mother. It was his mother Ruth who taught him to sing and play music. While serving in the Air Force in Washington, DC, he began his musical career. His ballad "Big Bad John" recorded in Nashville, TN, in 1961 sold one million copies and won Dean a Grammy Award in 1962. Dean went on to record some forty country and crossover songs, including the popular "The First Thing Every Morning," "PT 109," and "A Thing Called Love." He also appeared on numerous television shows during the sixties and in several movies in the seventies.
In 1969 Jimmy Dean and his brother Don founded the Jimmy Dean Meat Company. This lucrative enterprise was purchased in 1984 by Consolidated Foods (Sara Lee Company). Dean's success as an entrepreneur made it possible for him to donate one million dollars to Wayland Baptist University in his hometown of Plainview in 2008.
In 2004 Dean published his frank and forthright autobiography entitled Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham, and 2010 he was inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN.
Dean was interred in a piano-shaped mausoleum on his estate in Varina, VA. The inscription reads "Here Lies One Hell of a Man." RIP Jimmy Dean.
----Penne J. Laubenthal
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