Celebrating Sausages

The Germans are known by the nickname “The Krauts,” which comes from sauerkraut, a famous German dish comprised of fermented cabbage.

Maybe Germans should be nicknamed “The Sausages” instead, because we have 1,500 kinds of different sausages in Germany – according to the Deutscher Fleischer Verband (German Meat Association).

There is a sausage for every occasion: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

According to the annual report of German Meat Association, we Germans have an emotional connection to our sausages: every region has their own traditional recipe. Let’s start with the most popular sausage, which comes from Frankfurt: the Frankfurter. This is a thin pork sausage that is cooked and looks like a wiener-sausage. They are similar; the difference is that wieners contain beef and pork meat and are named after Vienna (Wien), the capital of Austria. German Frankfurters are the sausages that hot dogs aspire to be. Wieners and Frankfurters look the same but wieners contain beef and pork.

Let’s move over to Bavaria, the region in Southern Germany that is famous for its Weißwürste, which is a white sausage, traditionally made of veal meat and a variety of herbs. Weißwürste are served for breakfast with sweet mustard, beer and a pretzel.

Next sausage is a hearty all-time favourite from Baden Württemberg, which is a neighbour province of Bavaria:blood and liver sausage eaten with sauerkraut and mashed potato. The sausages become creamy on the inside when they are cooked.

Let’s not forget currywurst: this is a sliced bratwurst with tomato-curry-sauce. It is not clear if this dish was invented in Hamburg or Berlin; both cities are claiming its roots. But Berlin is famous for its currywurst stands, and there is also a museum where sausage lovers can learn more about the history of the currywurst sausage.

Of course not all of the 1,500 different kind of sausages are perfect for hot dogs. The classic hot dog sausage in Canada is a wiener. In Germany people like to eat bratwurst as a hot dog with a bun that has a bit more crust than the typical hot dog bun found in Canadian supermarkets.

So what do dogs and sausage have in common, why is it named hot dog?

The website of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which has its headquarters in Washington, DC, provides answers: “There are many legends about the word hot dog. The origin of the word ‘hot dog’ stirs as much debate as the existence of UFOs,” it says. “Bruce Kraig, a culinary historian, points to college magazines where the word “hot dog” began appearing in the 1890s. The term was current at Yale in the fall of 1894, when “dog wagons” sold hot dogs at the dorms. The name was a sarcastic comment on the provenance of the meat. References to dachshund sausages and ultimately hot dogs can be traced to German immigrants in the 1800s. These immigrants brought not only sausages to America, but dachshund dogs. The name most likely began as a joke about the Germans’ small, long, thin dogs.”

But more important than the name is the taste. Of course Germany is a sausage-lovers-paradise. But look no further, Yukoners, there are a lot of German influenced butchers in Whitehorse where you can get a quality sausage. According to my friend Nancy you can get the best Weißwurst at Stacey’s Butcher Block in Porter Creek (they also make elk and caribou sausages that are very tasty).

I recommend the maple infused Bratwurst at Burnt Toast Café as a perfect breakfast to celebrate national hot dog day. Enjoy!

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