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The Right Sausage for Your Relationship

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This is excerpted from The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meats, Lucky Peach’s new single-subject cookbook and reference guide for anyone interested in sausages, on sale now! 

Everybody knows that sausages are the most romantic food. They symbolize both the grinding nature of love as well as the shape of the human penis. Unfortunately, this means that sharing a sausage with someone can be a treacherous proposition. The opportunities for unintended subtext are rife. In order to help you navigate the complex implications of different choices, I have created this list of appropriate sausages for the eight classic relationship archetypes. Whether you’re considering gifting a sausage to a prospective sexual partner or sharing one with a long-term lover, you would do well to consult this guide first.

LOVE_TOAD

Toad in the Hole

For Horny Youths, Not Yet Jaded by Crassness, Aroused by the Merest Suggestion of Intercourse 

Sausage links baked in popover-like Yorkshire pudding batter (then some­times doused with onion gravy). When toad in the hole first appeared in English cookbooks in the eighteenth century, indiscriminate recipes called for meat scraps or leftovers with the spoiled bits removed. Today, any (unspoiled) pork sausage will do; the exact specimen varies by region. As with most things, you can find it in big cities, but the best toad in the hole still resides outside the capital, in low-lit pubs at the end of country lanes.

WHERE: UK
MEAT: pork
PREPARATION: baked in Yorkshire pudding batter
SERVED: with onion gravy

LOVE_ITALIAN

Italian Sausages

For Cautious New Lovers, Unsure Whether to be Overtly Sexual (Hot) or Gently Romantic (Sweet) with Their Sausage Selection 

If you’ve ever purchased sausage from a grocery-store butcher case in America, you may have wondered how the entirety of the Italian sausage canon was reduced to a choice between Hot and Sweet. The answer begins with US soldiers retur­ning from the Italian theater following the end of World War II. While fighting in southern Italy and Sicily, our boys developed a taste for salciccia fresca: fresh pork sausage seasoned with salt, pepper, and fennel. Upon landing back in the States, the guys sought out their new favorite sausage in the Little Italys of New York, Philly, and Chicago. It was only a matter of time before the broader sausage market felt the demand. In the ’50s and ’60s, the popularity of so-called “Italian Sausages” flavored with garlic and fennel—plus red pepper flakes (hot) or without (sweet)—skyrocketed. After that, they were as much a part of Italian-American cuisine as canned breadcrumbs, spaghetti and meatballs, checkered tablecloths, and chicken parm.

WHERE: USA
MEAT: pork
PREPARATION: grilled, poached, or braised
SERVED: with peppers

LOVE_BREAKFAST

Breakfast Sausage

For the One-Night Stand Hoping That a Generous Morning Gesture Might Turn a Fling into Something More

Jimmy Dean grew up poor on a farm in Plainview, Texas. His mother ran a barbershop out of their home to make ends meet and Dean walked around wearing shirts made from sugar sacks. Every fall, Dean and his grandfather slaughtered a hog and made their own sausage. After serving in the Air Force, Dean spent the ’40s and ’50s building a name for him­self as a country music star of radio and television. He’d remain a big shot for decades to come and had a huge hit with “Big Bad John,” which told the story of a mythical coal miner who “stood six foot six and weighed 245, kinda broad at his shoulder and narrow at the hip.” How’d John get to be so big and bad? By eating Jimmy Dean sausage, no doubt. In 1969, Dean was picking at a gristly piece of sausage in his teeth, and felt the call to produce a better breakfast meat. Tubes of Jimmy’s sausage hit grocery store refrigerators soon after, and American breakfast tables were never the same. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage now comes linked or loose, uncooked, precooked, frozen, in a microwavable bowl, skewered and stuffed in pancakes, or breakfast-sandwiched. This reflects the myriad ways Americans take their morning meat, Jimmy Dean variety or no: pan-fried on the side, baked with eggs and cheese in a casserole, stirred into gravy, rolled up in pancakes (or sprinkled directly into the batter), and, frankly, however else we want, dammit, so long as it’s flavored with sage and/or maple syrup.

WHERE: USA
MEAT: pork
PREPARATION: Cooked in a skillet or baked
SERVED: with eggs; in a breakfast sandwich; in a casserole; next to pancakes

LOVE_ANDOUETTE

Andouillette

For the Committed Pair, Perhaps Having Recently Moved in Together, Testing One Another’s Proclivities and Boundaries 

Call it earthy, call it musky, but let’s be real—andouillette tastes like shit (fans will append “in a good way” to that description, but we dare not be so bold as to assume your preferences for animal butt). Warnings not to confuse this with Cajun smoked Andouille are probably moot. Makers of this French-heartland sausage mix pork stomach with intestines and a whole mess of tripey things—including the mesentery and the omentum (don’t ask)—then shred everything into fettuccine-like ribbons and stuff it all into a pig’s colon. Andouillette comes hot or cold. Hot, it’ll likely be pan-roasted, chopped up, and blanketed under a sharp mustard-wine sauce. Just be prepared to put up a fight when ordering: Waiters will do their best to discourage tourists from ordering andouillette. But don’t let their warnings scare you off—it has plenty of fans. If you’re particularly picky about your andouillette, scan bistro and brasserie menus for an “AAAAA” or “5A” label— the official thumbs-up of the Association Amicale des Amateurs d’Andouillette Authentique, a jury of critics and journa­lists devoted to the stuff.

WHERE: France
MEAT: a mélange of pork offal
PREPARATION: poached, grilled, or pan-roasted
SERVED: cold 

LOVE_SUNDAE

Sundae

Desperately Clutching to Fading Embers, Tired Partners Praying that an Injection of Exoticism Will Serve as Dry Tinder for New Flames, Might Try This

Order a sundae (pronounced soon-dae) in Korea and you won’t get a treacly ice cream treat but rather a grizzly amalgamation of vegetables, cellophane noodles, and blood packed into a pig intestine. Steamed and then sliced, this night-market delicacy is often dunked in gochujang (chili paste) to counter the metallic tang of its iron-rich filling. Steamed liver, lungs, and other off-cuts are popular accompaniments. Sundae can also come boiled in a soup with cabbage (served, in a reusable hard plastic bowl, right there on the street), stir-fried with chili paste and onions, or eaten on its own.

WHERE: North and South Korea
MEAT: pork (variations can include seafood)
PREPARATION: boiled or steamed
SERVED: sliced, in soup, or stir-fried

LOVE_SPAM

Spam Musubi

For Paramours from Different Worlds, Unsure if Their Love Can Survive a Society That Frowns on their Mingling, an Inspirational Success Story 

Invented in the 1930s, SPAM (the name is a head-on collision of the words spiced and ham and the product of a national naming contest held by the Hormel Company in 1937) is perhaps the world’s best-known canned forcemeat. It lodged itself in the American consciousness during World War II, when fresh meat was scarce. SPAM remained the king of comfort foods in Hawaii long after the war ended, maybe because SPAM pairs so nice with rice, or maybe because the state lives in perpetual anxiety of being cut off from supplies. On the islands, SPAM makes appearances with eggs, chopped into fried rice, in bowls of noodle soup, and, most famously, sliced thin, pan-fried, and draped over a small brick of cooked rice. It’s a riff on the ubiquitous handheld Japanese snack, omusubi (a.k.a. onigiri), a rice ball filled with various proteins or vegetables, often wrapped in a sheet of nori. Hawaiians, who comprise almost as many people of Japanese descent as Caucasians, love their Spam musubi. You’ll find it wrapped in plastic and held under heat lamps at convenience and grocery stores, sometimes gilded with slices of avocado or sheets of egg omelet.

WHERE: Hawaii
MEAT: pork and ham
PREPARATION: griddled
SERVED: atop a block of cooked rice, sometimes wrapped in nori

LOVE_DA_CHANG

Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang

For Loving Newlyweds, Having Made a Promise to Have and to Hold, who Want to Deepen Their Oath 

The name of this sausage is a complete, grammatical sentence in Mandarin, though one you won’t likely find in your phrase book: “A big intestine wraps around a small intestine.” The “small intestine” (xiao chang) here refers to a simple grilled pork sausage, and the “big intestine” (da chang) to a larger sticky rice–filled sausage that bear-hugs the smaller sausage. (The barnyard funk that usually accompanies large intestines is present and accounted for.) Condiment options might include everything from simple soy sauce and wasabi to pickled mustard greens and peanut powder. This greasy treat is often enjoyed at Taiwan’s night markets (try Shilin or Fengjia for the most options). Just don’t get caught in the crossfire: The competition is notoriously fierce among da chang bao xiao chang vendors, and some stalls are outfitted with scathing signs and looped videos accusing neighboring stands of criminal acts.

WHERE: Taiwan
MEAT: pork
PREPARATION: grilled
SERVED: nestled in a larger sticky-rice “sausage,” served with various condiments

LOVE_DREI

Drei Im Weggla

For Two People, Deeply in Love but Whose Sex Life has Become Familiar—Even Routine—Looking to Carefully Suggest a Polyamorous Encounter 

Nuremberg won a European Union Protected Geographical Indication for the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst in 2003. Throughout the city’s storied, turbulent history, the little sausage has stood firm. For the past seven centuries, breweries and street vendors have been selling these finger-size (regulations specify 7 to 9 centimeters in length) links—ten or twelve or fifty to a plate, with heaping sides of sauerkraut and fresh horseradish. However, the Drei im Weggla—literally, “three in a bun”—is the local way to take your brats: a crusty, bulbous bun is filled with a trio of marjoram, mace, and onion–infused sausages (crunchy from grilling; that’s the rost part of rostbrat-wurst) and slathered with sharp yellow mustard.

WHERE: Nuremberg, Germany
MEAT: pork
PREPARATION: grilled
SERVED: three sausages in a circular bun slathered with mustard

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This is excerpted from The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meats, Lucky Peach’s new single-subject cookbook and reference guide for anyone interested in sausages, on sale now! 

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