Sausages for Salad

A quick recipe today, because I am feeling tired and can’t manage the more extensive post I had been hoping for. From the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

Sausages, meat and lard (Pieter Aertsen, 1551) courtesy of wikimedia commons

57 To make Italian (Welsche) sausages

Take many pounds of meat with no skin on it and nothing else either (except muscle meat). Take bacon, remove the skin and cube it. Chop the meat, and when it has been chopped well, take the bacon pieces (speckgrieben) and add them. Take salt with it and peppercorns and mix them in. Put them into large intestines (grosse derm) the way you make sausages, and hang them in the smoke so they become dry (welck). Boil them to serve with a salad.

This recipe is interesting. It describes what may well be an ancestor of modern Mettwurst, a smoked sausage of heavily salted muscle meat and fat that resembles a salami. The reference to boiling in a salad suggests a relation with the kind of sausages like Mettenden and Pinkel boiled with kale (Grünkohl) or sauerkraut today. It is also interesting because we encounter almost the exact same instructions in the late sixteenth century Low German print Dat klene Kakeboeck (recipe #23):

Italian (Welsche) sausages

Take several pounds of meat that contains neither skin nor bones. Also take bacon, cut it into cubes, chop the meat, then mix the bacon cubes into it and take salt and peppercorns and also mix that in. Contain it in gut casings and hang these sausages in the chimney so that they become dry. Boil them with a salad.

This is very likely a direct translation. Much of the early cookbook literature in Low German was taken from High German publications. As to the origin of the recipe, it is interesting that the manuscript recipe collection of Sabina Welser contains more detailed instructions to make sausages for salad (recipe #23), though it does not call them ‘Italian’:

If you wish to make good sausages to use in salad

Take ten pounds of pork, five pounds of oxmeat, always two parts pork to one part beef, that makes 15 pounds. To that, take 16 lot of salt and five of pepper, which should be pounded a bit, but not completely. When the meat is chopped, you first add two pounds of fat bacon diced small. You may take more or less, depending on how fat the pork is. Take your bacon from the back and not the belly. And they (the sausages) must be pressed together well, and the more you dry them, the better. Hang them up in the living room or kitchen, but not in the smoke (chimney), and not too close to the oven so the bacon does not melt. This should be done in the waxing moon, and if the chopped meat is dried well and hard, the sausages will stay good for a long time. And each sausage must be tied above and below, and the bands must be left on to hang them up with. They must be turned over every day, the bottom end up, and when they are dried out completely, you wrap them in cloth and store them in a box.

Clearly there is a tradition here.

The short Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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