Travel sausages from the Oeconomia

Wayfaring supplies to ward off hunger and poor hostelries.

How you can make good bratwürst

(Marginalia: To make bratwürste well)

It happens at time that a good man must travel and cannot get anything to eat at the inn (Herberge). Who now finds himself in such a bad hostelry can have good bratwürste prepared in his household that he may take along on such travels and then bring out (herfür suchen) in an emergency. He should have them made thus:

Ten pounds of pork, a pound of good salt, fennel and pepper each four Loth, cloves and pounded sage each one Loth, chop this very small, also customarily (more solito – original Latin) add fat meat and mix the aforesaid (spice) powder into the meat with the salt. Mix it well together and let it stand in the mixing trough for one night. Then fill it into guts and hang them up. When you wish to eat them, just peel off the skin, cut the sausage into vinegar and eat it. Then bring out your bottle carrier (flaschen Futter) and take a good drink or two or three of good Rhenish wine. Lie down overnight in a good soft bed and sleep well and late, you will not be sick from this.

This is surely a fascinating recipe and one that I am hoping to try out soon. The exact weights are not readily on hand, but since the author lived near the town of Rostock, I would begin with the Lübeck pound of 484.7 grammes, at 32 Loth to the pound. That would give us 4.847 g of pork to 484.7 g of salt seasoned with 60 g each of fennel and pepper and 15.1 g each of sage and cloves. Since the sausage is neither cooked not hot-smoked, I suspect that some lactic acid fermentation takes place in the drying process.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausväterliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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