If you frequent Oktoberfest parties it’s likely you’ve enjoyed a bratwurst or two, or at the very least, seen a drunk guy enjoy a bratwurst or two. But what exactly makes bratwurst, bratwurst? Perhaps you’ve never stopped to think about it before but we’re here to discuss it anyway, because, sausages. No further explanation needed.
The origin of the word
Well, the word is German that much we can say for sure, but there are a few theories as to the breakdown of the word itself. The most popular are as follows:
(brat) “to fry” & (wurst) “sausage”
(brāto) “meat” & (wurst) “sausage”
(braten) “finely chopped meat” & (wurst) “mixture”
No matter how you slice it, a bratwurst is a sausage made from beef, veal, or most commonly, pork (that’s what ours is made of). The sausage is typically boiled and then pan-fried.
Who invented the bratwurst?
There is much debate among the people of Thüringen, Germany and those of Franconia, Germany. Both claim to have invented the bratwurst. In Thüringen, the oldest evidence of the bratwurst is from 1404; in Franconia, the oldest record is from 1313. But, believe it or not, Heinrich Höllerl, a bratwurst historian (imagine that was your job), discovered that the bratwurst has its origins with the Celtics. That being said, it was indeed Germany that coined the name and made the bratwurst as popular as it is today.
Sausage. A serious matter
Recently, a document was found in Weimar, Thuringia, dated from 1432. The document contained strict guidelines and rules as to the quality of bratwurst sausages. They had committees responsible for monitoring the quality of produce who enforced the rules with fines. According to the document, Thuringian sausage makers had to use only the purest, unspoiled meat and were threatened with a fine of 24 pfennigs (a day’s wages) if they didn’t. So, even in the Middle Ages, there were already consumer protection laws.
Sausage began as a means of survival for Germans during the winter months. The best cured sausages came from mountainous regions where the dryer northern winds helped in the curing process. In warmer European countries, food was more available so sausage making never became popular.
In Germany, the pig was the animal of choice for meat as probably beef is in North America. This may have something to do with the fact that the pig is a good luck symbol in Germany.
So what can we conclude from all of this? Bratwurst was perfected in Germany but it’s still enjoyed all over the world. Oh, and it’s yummy!