Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How I Learned to Love a Swiss Sausage

When I first moved to Switzerland, I was not a sausage eater. I didn't eat hot dogs, I didn't eat corn dogs. I didn't need to be a consumer of all things pig. In America, there was something called variety. So I could survive on things like hamburgers at picnics or popcorn at the ballpark.

But in Switzerland, it's sausage or starvation. There's no hamburger option. There's cervelat or wurst.

To avoid starvation, I started slow. I'd take one bite of my husband's cervelat at a festival and ponder if I could really learn to eat more than that. Eventually I'd take two bites, then three, and then one day last year at Christmas time, I actually took part in the community sausage grilling a marshmallow.

While little Swiss children pointed and stared, I proudly grilled my marshmallow, but it looked weak and sad among the meaty sausage sticks surrounding it. So I stuffed my American Jet-Puffed marshmallows into my backpack after roasting just one and stared at all the little kids holding three-foot long burning sausage skewers, thinking, if this was America, this little Christmas sausage gathering would turn into a lawsuit.

So imagine my own surprise, when I suggested to my husband that we go have a Broetla (Swiss German for sausage roast) on a hilltop on Sunday. (Swiss German readers, please correct my spelling). We cooked our cervelat over a fire and even ate them Swiss style, holding the sausages like a banana, and dipping them in mustard. The only unSwiss thing about our little Sunday picnic were the paper plates we ate them off of. We just couldn't get motivated to drag our china up the mountain.

But I figure that doesn't matter. Because I ate the whole thing.


Amanda said...

Bravo! I love me a good hot dog. Always have, always will. (Grey's Papaya anyone?) I do admit though that for about three months (after a weisswurst overdose) I couldn't even look at a sausage. I'm over it now, thankfully!

M'dame Jo said...

Don't. Like. Sausages.

Neither a swiss cervelas nor a san francisco giants' hot dog.

But at least cervelas doesn't make me sick ;-)

Chantal said...

Glad to hear I'm not alone in my sausage apprehension.

Greg Christensen said...

I love sausages in all their variety.

I took my boys on a Swiss camping trip, and we brought mashmallows to roast. All the American kids were begging for them, and all the Swiss and French kids were looking at us like we had two heads.

How can a culture that puts chocolate on their bread for breakfast not be familiar with air-puffed sugar?

Chantal said...

I don't know. And I'm surprised you had such an easy time even finding the marshmallows. Maybe they are easy to find in Geneva? In Zurich you have to go to one of the department stores (or go to Germany). And they cost like $5 a bag...

M'dame Jo said...

Marshamallows are pretty common here too, we just don't grill them and don't put them in hot chocolate. The French call them "guimauve" (the plant it was historically derived from), the most famous brand being "chamallow." I a quite old candy, like from the 19th or even 18th century. I'm not quite sure, but despite how common it is in North America, that's likely not were it came from.

M'dame Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M'dame Jo said...

I have a hint of explanation, Chantal and Greg:

The swiss French are more familiar with marshmallows because they're actually French and the swiss German eat kilometers of sausages under the influence of German culture. I tell you, you picked the wrong side of Switzerland ;-)

Chantal said...

You are right. I cannot find marshmallows in any normal grocery store in the German-speaking part of Switzerland...thanks for the info, M'dame Jo.

Jenni said...

Just think. Every year you can have a sausage anniversary. Wherever in the world you are, you will put some meat on a stick and call it good.

Chantal said...

There's an idea. A sausage anniversary. I guess that's about as often as I try to eat a whole one anyway.

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