Bolognese Sausage from de Rontzier (Sausages II)

Bolognese (Bononische) Sausages

You chop together fresh hams of a pig, tender, roasting-grade pork and beef (Schwein unnd Rindermoerbraten) and bacon from the back, as quarter as much. Season it with whole pepper, ground ginger, a good amount of ground nutmeg, salt, and a little wine. Fill it tightly into guts, strew them with salt and let them lie for a night. Then you hang them up, and after they have hung in the smoke for fourteen days, you coat them in butter and hang them up again in a place where they do not have too much smoke and air.

This is an interesting recipe mainly for its nomenclature. A kind of salami, it has little in common with what we know as bologna today (in Germany, this kind of sausage is widely called Mortadella), but its association with the city of Bologna is clearly stated. Figuring out what exactly makes it ‘Bolognese’ sounds like a worthwhile research project.

Franz de Rontzier, head cook to the bishop of Halberstadt and duke of Braunschweig, published his encyclopaedic Kunstbuch von mancherley Essen in 1598. He clearly looks to Marx Rumpolt’s New Kochbuch as the new gold standard, but fails to match it in engaging style or depth. He is thus overshadowed by the twin peaks of Marx Rumpolt and Anna Wecker. What makes his work interesting is the way in which he systematically lists versions of a class of dishes, illustrating the breadth or a court cook’s repertoire. He is also more modernly fashionable than Rumpolt. Looking to France rather than Italy and Spain for inspiration, and some of the dishes he first describes may be genuine innovations.

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