Monday, July 05, 2010

World Cup Buffet: Weisswurst (GER - Germany)

Last week, Germany routed England in the quarterfinals with a crushing 4 - 1 victory, and followed that up with an even more crushing 4 - 0 victory against Argentina. This is Germany's 12th trip to the semifinals, and it should be no surprise with the way they play. Or with the way they eat - all that protein!

Country: Germany (IOC/FIFA Abbreviation: GER)
Nickname of National team: Die Mannschaft (German, "The Team")
Number of World Cups they have appeared in: 17
Highest finish: winners (1954, 1974, 1990)
Common foods: pork (often in sausage form), chicken, game meats, fish, potatoes, carrots, turnips as side dish, many breads, cakes and spaetzles.
Number of German restaurants in the Baltimore area: Haussner's is long gone, leaving the Eichenkranz as the only German restaurant in the area. There are several German markets in town, not to mention the Amish Markets in Cockeysville and Dundalk.
Number of German restaurants in the Washington area: several, including the Café Mozart, Old Europe and Café Berlin, and again, various German and Amish markets.

The German love for sausages of all kinds makes the wurst the best option for this World Cup dish. As noted on Wikipedia, there are more than 1,500 varieties of sausage in Germany. It is the quintessential German food. Fortunately for me, I had to look no further than my freezer for some Weisswurst (white sausage) I bought from Binkert's a little while back. Weisswurst - or moreover, Weißwurst - is a veal, pork, parsley and cardamom sausage specifically found in Bavaria, and until the advent of modern refrigeration and freezer technologies it was easily perishable. That is, you made them early in the morning and ate them by lunch. There is a specific way to prepare Weisswurst, as this video showed me sometime back:

See? Simple.

So to translate: boil a pot of water, then turn it off and drop in the Weisswurst until the skin bursts, about 8 to 10 minutes. Eat using your preferred method of the two mentinoed above, preferably with a genuine Bavarian pretzel, a Weissbier of some sort, and a traditional Bavarian sweet mustard such as Handelmeier's mustard. I had to make do with a pretzel from Auntie Anne's and some spicy mustard (yes, Bavarian sausage fans - blasphemy I know). It was too early in the day for me to drink anything harder than a soda. Perhaps the sausage was sitting in my fridge for too long, because after ten minutes of sitting water that was boiling when I turned it off, the skin had done little more than flake. Another 5 minutes and I just took it out of the water. I got a firm sausage with a distinctively veal smell (of course) and a mild and wonderful parsley flavor. And yes, I tried eating it both ways. And yes, I ate it without a fork each time. The side dishes may not have been authentically "Bavarian" but they still tasted good nonetheless.

Yes, I know I should have the authentic mustard and pretzel. I couldn't find it. Sue me.
Next time I will.

The final semifinalist in my World Cup Buffet menu gives us a nice respite from all the meat and bread I've been writing about. Bavarians, if not most Germans, probably would scratch their heads at the pairing of curried meatloaf, pancakes, asado beef and white veal sausages with a most popular Spanish soup that works well in 100+ degree heat. Can the Spanish team stand up to the Germans? Who knows? But perhaps gazpacho can stand up to, if not complement, a nice Weisswurst.