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Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors


My First Recollection of Sausage

by Joe Ritter, 4 Nov 2006

My first recollection of sausage making in our family dates to about 1946 or 1947. My parents, grandparents and various cousins all chipped in for the purchase of several piglets. These were penned, fed and cared for on my grandparent's farm until they reached maturity. Then the pigs were converted mostly into sausage (or "wurst" as my grandparents called it), although I seem to remember pans of Schwartelmagen (head-cheese) as well. Only the older people ate the latter. We kids wouldn't touch it! 

The wurst making was a multi-level activity with Gro▀vater taking charge of seasoning the raw meat mix. He did this very well considering that the mix could not be tasted due to concerns about trichinosis. As a young boy watching all of this, it appeared to me that operating the crank on the sausage extruder would be a lot of fun.  However, after about five minutes on this job, I found it to be a lot of work, not to mention, boring. Upon pleading extreme fatigue, I went down to the creek to do something really interesting like skipping flat stones across the water. 

After all of the mix had been stuffed into many feet of edible cellulose-based casings, a portion of the fresh wurst was divided among the relatives. Later, Gro▀vater smoked the remainder, using a mixture of apple and hickory wood, cut from trees on the farm.  The smoked wurst was also apportioned among the relatives. 

While I preferred the cooked, fresh wurst (usually served with boiled potatoes, and either einbren spinach or einbren sauerkraut), I remember that my mother would make delicious sandwiches of the smoked wurst for my school lunches. These consisted of slices of bread coated on one side with spicy mustard and covered with thin slices of the hard salami-like smoked wurst. I was the envy of my classmates who were making do with store-bought bologna or cheese. 

However, when all was done, someone in the family, probably Gro▀vater, did a cost analysis on the entire operation. The conclusion was that it would have been less expensive and certainly less labor-intensive, to have purchased pork butts on sale, rather than raising the pigs!  In subsequent years, this is exactly what was done.  

[Edited by Rose Mary Keller Hughes. Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 4 Nov 2006]


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