Back to Braunschweig

Yesterday we went to a diner in Brunswick ME, rolled a few Brunswick bowling balls, looked in on the province of New Brunswick in Canada and various American places named (New) Brunswick, and had a taste of gam(e)y Brunswick stew from the American South — all a riff on the English name Brunswick derived from the German place name Braunschweig. A tour through lots of stuff, but I held back on digressing even further to a topic involving the place-name Braunschweig more directly, namely Braunschweiger sausages (of a number of dfferent types).

The Braunschweiger sausage of my American childhood, in a tasty sandwich:

[7/30/19: The photo of a liverwurst sandwich has been removed, in response to this message from the law firm of Higbeee & Associates:

We represent the photographer Adlife Marketing & Communications Co., Inc.& Communications Co., Inc.. Adlife Marketing & Communications Co., Inc.& Communications Co., Inc. is a professional photographer who licenses images to make a living. We noticed that the work of Adlife Marketing & Communications Co., Inc.& Communications Co., Inc. is being displayed on a website that we believe you either own or operate (See Exhibit A).  Further, we could not locate any records that indicate that you have a license for such use.

… If you do not have a license, please contact us at […] or call us at  […] to resolve the matter. … We need to know how the image(s) came to be on your website to discuss compensating Adlife Marketing & Communications Co., Inc.& Communications Co., Inc. for the time of infringement and costs that have been incurred as a result of the use of the image(s).

The Higbee firm has made something of a lucrative specialty of threatening lawsuits over  the use of photographs on the net, requiring that the photographs be removed (as I have done here with the liverwurst sandwich photo) and then that the user pay a hefty fee for its appearance on the net. (I wouldn’t dare describe this behavior as a scam, because that of course would be actionable in itself.) This is not my first brush with them (see below), but this particular occasion has a certain onomastic charm to it, since the “professional photographer who licenses images to make a living” in question has the remarkable name “Adlife Marketing & Communications Co., Inc.& Communications Co., Inc..” I’ll bet their parents rued the day they chose that name out of the baby books.

In any case, the killer liverwurst sandwich photo came to me on a Pinterest board several years ago, posted by someone who got it from a 2008 WordPress blog posting about meat.

Then, from my 12/29/17 posting “News for penises: artwatch”:

(#1) Painting, signed by Carolina Falkholt, on Broome Street
[Photo of the penis mural removed. It turns out that it was from the NY Post, where it was credited to photographer William Farrington. Attorney Mathew K. Higbee is now threatening to sue me, on Farrington’s behalf, for large amounts of money for unauthorized use of the image… Part of my response is to remove the image.]

But they still demanded that I compensate the photographer. I did not. Now here we go again.

End of legal digression.]

(Ok, liverwurst by another name. Some people just hate it.)

From Wikipedia:

Braunschweiger (named after Braunschweig, Germany) is the name for several types of sausages. In Germany, the name usually refers to a variety of Mettwurst. In Austria, Braunschweiger is known as a type of Brühwurst, while American Braunschweiger is a type of liverwurst.

Braunschweiger Mettwurst is a smoked, soft and spreadable sausage made from raw minced pork. [More on Mettwurst below.]

In the United States, Braunschweiger refers to a type of liverwurst (pork liver sausage) which, if stuffed in natural casings, is nearly always smoked. Commercial products often contain smoked bacon, and are stuffed into fibrous casings.

[American] Braunschweiger has a very high amount of vitamin A, iron, protein and fat. The meat has a very soft, spread-like texture and a distinctive spicy liver-based flavor, very similar to the Nordic leverpostej. It is usually used as a spread for toast, but can also be used as a filling for sandwiches, often paired with stone-ground mustard, sliced tomato, onion and cheese. [See #1.] In the Midwestern United States, braunschweiger is typically enjoyed in a sandwich with various condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and dill pickles, or simply spread on crackers. There are also a few recipes for pâté and cheese balls which use braunschweiger as a primary ingredient.

On Mettwurst. From Wikipedia:

Mettwurst is a strongly flavoured German sausage, made from raw minced pork which is preserved by curing and smoking, often with garlic. The southern German variety is soft and similar to Teewurst. Braunschweiger mettwurst is smoked somewhat but still soft and spreadable, while other northern German varieties such as the Holsteiner are harder and more akin to salami, due to longer smoking. The Low German word mett, meaning minced pork without bacon, is derived from the Old Saxon word meti (meaning food), and is related to the English word ‘meat’.

… Due to the large German immigration to South Australia (for example, the town of Hahndorf), mettwurst (sometimes spelled metwurst) is very common and is created in the North German style. It is often used in school lunches and for snacks during parties. Well-known South Australian brands include Mullers, Butch’s Smallgoods, Linke’s, Steiney’s, Kalleske, Wintulich, and Barossa Fine Foods.

In the United States, mettwurst is most commonly associated with the city of Cincinnati, where it is regarded as a signature dish. The town of Mineola, Iowa, which was settled almost exclusively by immigrants from Schleswig-Holstein, hosts an annual heritage dinner with “Schoening-style” cold-smoked Mettwurst known in the Low German dialect as “Metvuss”.

Hard and soft, juxtaposed:


On Brühwurst. From Wikipedia:

Brühwurst (“scalded sausage” or “parboiled sausage”) is the collective name for several types of sausages according to the German classification. They are a cooked sausage that are scalded (parboiled), as opposed to being raw. They are typically prepared from raw meat that is finely-chopped, are sometimes smoked, and are typically served hot.

In [the] English-speaking world such sausages are usually divide[d] into two classes: cooked sausages (e.g. hot dogs) and cooked smoked sausages (e.g. kielbasa).

Hot dogs I’ve discussed many times on this blog — as a traditional American food, as the central ingredient in any number of astounding dishes, and as phallic symbols. Kielbasa not so much. Here’s a bit of the material from the Wikipedia article, focusing on Poland and the U.S.:

Kiełbasa is a type of Central European sausage, which is also called Polish sausage.

Sausage is a staple of Polish cuisine and comes in dozens of varieties, smoked or fresh, made with pork, beef, turkey, lamb, chicken or veal with every region having its own speciality. … There are official Polish government guides and classifications of sausages based on size, meat, ready-to-eat or uncooked varieties.

Originally made at home in rural areas, there are a wide variety of recipes for kielbasa preparation at home and for holidays. Kielbasa is also one of the most traditional foods served at Polish weddings. Popular varieties include:

kabanosy, a thin, air-dried sausage flavoured with caraway seed, originally made of pork

kiełbasa wędzona, polish smoked sausage, used often in soups.

krakowska, a thick, straight sausage hot-smoked with pepper and garlic; its name comes from Kraków

wiejska, farmhouse sausage; it is a large U-shaped pork and veal sausage with marjoram and garlic; its name means “rural” or (an adjectival use of) “country”, or (adjectival use of) “village”.

weselna, “wedding” sausage, medium thick, u-shaped smoked sausage; often eaten during parties, but not exclusively

kaszanka or kiszka is a traditional blood sausage.

myśliwska is a smoked, dried pork sausage.

kiełbasa biała, a white sausage sold uncooked and often used in soups.


Some mustard with various types of kiełbasa made in Poland. From the top down: biała kiełbasa (white sausage), kabanos (pl. ‘kabanosy’), kiełbasa wiejska (farmhouse sausage) (in the centre).

… In Poland, kiełbasa is often served garnished with fried onions, and – in the form of cut pieces – smoked kiełbasa can be served cold, hot, boiled, baked or grilled. It can be cooked in soups such as żurek (sour rye soup), kapuśniak (cabbage soup), or grochówka (pea soup), baked or cooked with sauerkraut, or added to bean dishes, stews (notably bigos, a Polish national dish), and casseroles. Kiełbasa is also very popular served cold as coldcuts on a platter, usually for an appetiser at traditional Polish parties. It is also a common snack (zagrycha) served with beer or plain vodka.

… In the United States, “kielbasa” can be bought in most Polish stores all over, as well as in most major grocery store chains, which may be unsmoked (“fresh”) or fully or partly smoked. A popular charcoal-grilled variety topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and (optionally) sport peppers, known as a Maxwell Street Polish, is considered local fare in the Midwest. It is very popular in Pennsylvania often served with sauerkraut or pierogies and is served in many Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Shenandoah, a town in PA’s Coal Region, celebrates the food in [its] annual Kielbasi Fest. Another popular charcoal-grilled kielbasa in the Midwest is kiełbasa grillowa. This sausage often replaces the traditional hotdog. … [A] Polish sandwich is a sandwich with kielbasa, a pickle spear, sauerkraut and mustard on rye bread.

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