In the Dry Gables story, “Johann Bauer—Blacksmith,” Johann Bauer is not only the Dry Gables blacksmith — he is also the town's protector. He looks out for everyone who lives there and is quick to anger when his town is threatened.
So when Lloyd A. Boone, a very wealthy attorney and investor, comes to town, Johann is beyond suspicious. He watches, listens, and then advises his friends not to believe anything the man says. But then, in a moment of danger, Johann is able to see Mr. Boone in a different light — and the two men are changed for the better.
Johann initially intimidates Mr. Boone because he's afraid Mr. Boone's plans will change the character of his beloved town.
Speaking of the character of places, did you know that, while it exists in some form almost everywhere, there are almost as many kinds of sausage as there are countries in the world?
From spicy merguez, in North Africa, to curried sai ua in Thailand; from black pudding in Scotland to chorizo in Spain; from the andouille that was imported from France and reborn as a cajun treat in the Southern United States, to the plain-Jane hot dog that's a classic at any American baseball stadium—sausage is both a global constant and a unique embodiment of local culture.
As a tribute to Johann, for this week's recipe, I tried a German-inspired sausage.
If you've ever considered making link sausage at home, you may have been put off by the idea that you must have a sausage stuffing tool. While the tool does make it easier, for small-scale, occasional sausage making, you can get by with a basic kitchen funnel.
You'll also need a package of “hog casings” (i.e. pig intestines) which make the sausage casings. If you have a good local butcher, you should be able to get some there, but you can order them online, too.
Lastly, if that all sounds like too much work, remember that it is perfectly acceptable to forgo making sausage links and just make sausage patties. While they won't fit on a bun as well, they taste just as good, and a little egg mixed in will help them stick together well enough to grill up for a summer feast.
Homemade German Sausage
3 pounds ground pork (get the fattiest you can find as the fat will add good flavor)
½ tablespoon sage
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
½ tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 small package hog casings (optional for link sausage, only; you'll just need a few)
1-3 eggs (for sausage patties, only)
About 15 minutes before you want to start making your sausage, pop a large metal bowl into the freezer.
Snip the links between sausages just before you're ready to cook them, and enjoy them grilled or however else you like to eat sausage.
For sausage patties:
Mix together the ground pork and seasonings, as described above, then incorporate about 1 egg for each pound of meat you began with. Form the meat into sausage patties, cook, and enjoy.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.