Monday, March 10, 2008
German Sausage: Take Two
After writing about currywurst in such detail last night, I awoke this morning craving exotic German sausage, then, just as quickly, fearing what I'll find in my culinary explorations. I decided that I could avoid ruining my palate on an accidental blood sausage if I could just learn a few German sausage-related words. You know- figure out the words for "beef" and "pork" and "fried" and I'd be on my way to navigating what appears to be a ridiculous array of tubular German meat offerings (see image).
I started out by learning the sausages I'd already heard of, and found these:
Braunschweiger: pork liver sausage (a.k.a. liverwurst), named for its home town of Braunschweig; spoils quickly: "About a week after opening, the meat will change from a fresh pinkish color to a dull gray, and will then begin to turn green." Yeah, NOT in my fridge it ain't, cuz I'm not going near that nastiness. Apparently it even makes a good chocolate egg substitute, for Easter-egg-hunting purposes.
Bratwurst: sausage made of finely chopped pork, beef, or veal. Sounds safe. We'll see.
Knockwurst: "crack sausage" (so named because of the sound it makes when you bite into the taught skin?) Also sounds relatively safe: a garlicky beef sausage meant to be eaten by hand.
Overall, I was not exactly off to an appetizing start, although things quickly turned south once I strayed from the familiar ones. Consider these offerings, which I sincerely hope to avoid:
Gelbwurst: "made from pork, veal and mixed spices such as ginger and nutmeg." OK, you had me at "Hellllloooooo, tube steak!" and then we move on to the fine print: "traditionally contains brains." Why, why, why, I ask, would you ruin a perfectly good sausage by throwing brains in there? Next!
Blutwurst: You knew it would appear. Every country with a strong sausage tradition seems to have its version of blood sausage. But the Germans love it so much, you can even buy the Blutwurst Throw Rug. (Hopefully it is vomit-resistant.)
There doesn't seem to be a consistent way to unravel the mysteries of the sausage nomenclature. Sure, "weisswurst" translates to "white sausage," but why, pray tell, is it white? Given the above, I wouldn't be surprised if it translated as "sausage made from pig eyeballs."