Recently, another blogger I follow took note of the Germans’ penchant for pork. Took issue with it, really. And, while I think taking aim at another cultures’ tastebuds is a thorny undertaking at best, I do feel a little sympathy for other people who are swine-averse in Germany. There’s no easy way to steer clear of the pig when in the Palatinate.
And I should know. I am not a sausage eater. I don’t mind the aroma, the spice, the bite of garlic or pepper–those are all fabulous…seductive, even.
Not sure I like the idea of sausage, but sausage is not really one of those things anyone should think too closely about, so that’s not the problem.
I’m just allergic to pork. So I avoid it. No biggie. Up to this point in my life, there have always been lots of options. In the South, I go to BBQ joints and order shredded chicken or beef. I take a pass on bologna, and I feel no great loss. However, in the land of beer and brats, you find yourself adrift on a sea of sausage… absolutely schwimming in schwine.
The boys in my family think this is fabulous, and I won’t contradict them. But it does make for some awkward moments for me. I feel funny always asking what’s in a dish that I don’t recognize–it feels a little high maintenance. And, since my German is very rudimentary, I often don’t understand the answers I get back. So there’s a lot of just steering clear–taking the widest path around anything that might possibly contain pork.
Which knocks out a lot of things in Germany. (I thought my Ritter chocolate bar smelled slightly bacony the other day…but I ate it anyway, and I’m still standing.)
So here’s the plan: Germany may be a swine-fest 24/7, but it’s also a chocolate and pastry and spatzle fest, so I will not suffer (although my waistline might). My household will savor all that Germany has to offer by the age old “Jack Spratt technique.” What I won’t eat (pork), my husband will relish; what he will only nibble around the edges (pastries), I will greedily gobble. You’ll recognize us if you sit nearby at a restaurant: we’ll be the people who’ve licked our platter clean.
A little sampler of facts about German Wurst:
*A wurst is a German or Austrian sausage–it is not necessarily made of pork, although pork is the most frequent ingredient.
*Wurst is sold both raw and cooked; it can be sold as a sausage or as cold cuts.
*If you happen to be near New Braunfels, Texas, you can go to the Wurstfest in November. It bills itself as “the best 10 days in sausage history”–the best of the wurst. Or the wurst at its best. And then, later, you can confuse people by saying, “I was once in Texas and had the best wurst.” ?! The Pocanos also advertise a Wurst fest, complete with Polka Bands, Bavarian dancing, Lederhosen, and hotdog races. The wurst at its
worst best wurst …whatever. Chicago also has a three day Wurst fest. (This begs for a windy city joke, but I’m trying to be mature.)
*Bad Durkheimer, Germany (in the Pfalz, which is part of the Rhineland-Palatinate and close to where I live) has a Wurstmarkt wine and wurst festival in September. Part of the national Oktoberfest fervor, but with wine. (And, I’m told, the wine is served in half-liter sized glasses, like beer. Ouch.) The Durkheimer Wurstfest is famous for being the biggest winefest in Germany. It bills itself as a nearly 600 year old festival. (The flyer should read “the best 570 years in sausage history”–that would show Texas!)
*Apparently, there are over 1,500 types of wurst available in Germany. It can be found on a German table at any time of day or night. It is the subject of festival and poetry. (Well, if Robert Burns can write a poem about Haggis, then sausage is certainly fair game!)
* Holzhausen, Germany boasts the Deutsches Bratwurstmuseum–yes, a wurst museum– which houses documents that can date the beginning of wurst from the year 1404. So there you go; plan your pilgrimage now.
**If this is the wurst post ever, I apologize. Consider the subject.