13 October, 2007


I have a tic. I know it because it happens every time, it's involuntary, and it takes a great deal of effort to control it. I usually don't notice it but my wife mentioned it a few days ago as one of the few things I do that embarrasses her. Whenever I am around a person who is speaking with a accent I start speaking with an accent too. It's especially bad when I hear a Brogue or a French accent. I grew up in Ohio, I have no natural twang or twinge, but it feels so good to shape vowel sounds in the back of my throat and roll them through the roof of my mouth and expel them out my mouth and my nose simultaneously. Not only do I affect an accent, but I invert my sentence structures and repetitively say in my head (at least I don't think I say it out loud) "How do you say...(Comment dit?...)."

Now Gentle Reader you may be wondering why you are reading about psychological problems in a blog about sausage, curing, smoking and whatever else blah blah blah. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I entered the culinary program at Kendall College. And the instructor for my Intro to Kitchen class is French. In addition to wanting to repeat everything Chef says avec accent, all the culinary terms we are learning are French too. My tic is a singing vortex, Batonnet (BA- ton-nay), Tourner (tour- nay) over and over in my head. After five hours I'm exhausted. On Monday we are starting with chicken (Poulet!).

School or no school I must get you caught up on what's been happening around the hermitage. A couple of weeks ago, we had our first Oktoberfest Celebration.

My mom and dad came up to help and we turned out twenty pounds of sausage and some sides. We made Bratwurst with marjoram and caraway:

Then, by special request, we made Italian sausage with parsley and cheese (not exactly German, but our most popular sausage this summer)

And we made a weisswurst.

This traditional München sausage is emulsified, meaning it's a bit harder to make. You grind ice with fat and meat then whip it into a mousse like structure. The final product should have the consistency of a hot dog rather than a brat.

I used a recipe from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. In the recipe Ruhlman stresses the importance of keeping the emulsion from breaking: "[A broken emulsion] though flavorful...will feel a little like eating clumps of soggy ground-up newspaper." Well I think I didn't whip it long enough; even though it was light, the texture was all wrong. Still we didn't have any trouble eating it all without giving it to the dog.

The first batch I poached I had the oven temp at 350F and some of the sausages burst. I found an oven temp of 300F ideal for poaching.

How about some sides?

Once again I tried to make sauerkraut, but after two weeks of curing it still didn't taste right, so I picked of a few bags of Bobak's.

Mom mixed up a little sodium hydroxide for pretzels.

Bonne Femme made a warm potato salad and apple strudel.

All in all a very good party. We will work out the bugs and have a bigger and better one next year, maybe you can come help make sausage.

Speaking of sausage my mom waited until the next morning to have hers.

As a strict traditionalist she insisted on having her Weißwurst cooked in water and served for breakfast. What's the German word for waffle?

Thanks to everyone (especially mom and dad) for making our first Oktoberfest such a success I hope to see you again next year.


1 comment:

Nicole said...

Hi Mac. I just found your blog and it's gorgeous! The German word for waffle is Waffel or (plural) die Waffeln. I'll spread the news about your blog to my foodie friends.