One of the things that’s good when somebody finishes a Ph.D. degree in our lab, aside from the consolation that there is an end to the misery, is the celebratory buffet afterwards. Traditionally thrown by the lab folks for the graduating student, I think all the Ph.D. students who graduated in the past two years in our lab, organized the buffet themselves (well with a little help from Mom). Where canapés are the norm, Kathrin broke the mold with her post-defense buffet.
You may remember Kathrin from one of my previous posts. She taught me how to make Spätzle from scratch. One thing I failed to mention was she’s from the great German state of Bavaria, home of Oktoberfest, the Dirndl, Lederhosen, and FC Bayern. Her family (parents, grandpa, uncle, and cousins) drove all the way from Bavaria to Saarland and brought with them kilos worth of Weißwurst.
I have stayed in Germany for 3 years now and I must say that I have never ever tried Weißwurst before Kathrin’s defense. It’s more of a Bavarian thing. I live in Saarland, where Schwenker, Merguez, and Lyoner are all the rage.
There are a five simple rules to enjoying a Weißwurst.
Rule #1: It must be cooked in hot water
Weißwurst is never cooked on a grill, unlike other sauseges in Germany. It is made with thin sausage skin which might burst when put on a hot grill. Instead it is poached slowly in hot, not boiling, water for 10 minutes. Never use boiling water as it is too hot for the sausage skin to bear.
Rule #2: It must be eaten before noon
We didn’t follow this rule because Kathrin’s defense was in the afternoon but, the Weißwurst is traditionally eaten before lunch. Why you might ask? It is prepared without any preservatives, ergo must be consumed as soon as possible, preferably the morning it was made.
Rule #3: It MUST be eaten with a pretzel and sweet mustard
There was one comedy moment during the buffet when Kathrin’s dad, who was manning the Weißwurst pot, sent one of our foreign students back because she asked for a piece of Weißwurst whilst having a piece of Butterkuchen on her plate. He was horrified by the idea of mixing the two together.
A pair of Weißwurst must be eaten with pretzel and sweet mustard. Not just any sweet mustard, I was told. It has to be Händlmaier Süßersenf. My other German colleagues started to disagree, but Kathrin shut them down with her very
aggressive persuasive “Nein!”. She argued that Händlmaier is the original, therefore the only choice for sweet mustard.
Rule #4: It must be skinned before eating
Unlike most sausages in Germany which are eaten whole (not all at once!), the Weißwurst has to be carefully taken out of its skin before consuming.
There are several techniques:
- Suck out the contents from one end of the sausage, a technique called zuzeln.
- Make an incision lengthwise and remove the skin using your knife and fork.
- Slit one end of the sausage and with the skin flap caught between the knife and your thumb, peel the skin in one solid stroke.
Thorsten, our office’s biggest fan of Bavaria, taught me the third technique and I must say it’s the fastest way to get the skin off of the meat.
Rule #5: It can only be partnered with Weizenbier (wheat beer)
This is not a strict rule, as not everyone are fans of Weizenbier. Traditionally, Weißwurst and Weizenbier go together. Weizenbier is not as fancy as wine, but unlike Pils that one can drink straight from the bottle, Weizenbier must be served in a Weizenbierglas.
So there you go, five simple rules to enjoy a Weißwurst. Abide by them while in the presence of a Bavarian.