Gritzwurst. It's what's for breakfast.
If you were lucky enough to grow up in a household with a bit of German farm ancestry, you might know what I'm talking about. If not, you'll probably think I'm pulling something over on you for April Fool's Day. But, it's all true. I promise.
Gritzwurst (or gritwurst, grutzwurst, or gritswurst, it seems) is made from pork and oatmeal. The pork (originally the meat from a pig's head, but these days something more akin to pork shoulder) is cooked, and then stewed in a great deal of water until it's falling apart and tender. Then it is mashed (or ground) and set aside. The oatmeal (my family uses rolled oats, but traditionally it's steel-cut oats) is cooked in the water left from cooking the pork -- and then the whole mess is mixed together and cooled. It's shaped into patties, or thrown free-form on a griddle to be fried into crispy goodness.
People in my family have been making gritzwurst for a very long time. We loved to fry it up on a cold winter morning and eat it with a liberal dose of maple syrup poured over the top.
Don't ask me how Peef got away with being married to me for almost ten years without tasting gritzwurst. But, the fact is, he got his very first taste of this delicacy this weekend at my aunt & uncle's house. I think he was a bit skeptical about it at first. But, you could see his tune changing as he caught his first whiff of the gritzwurst browning on the grill. The smell really is intoxicating (probably a lot like pork breakfast sausage, when it all comes down). And it's even better when mingled with the suggestion of maple. By the time he took his first bite, he was sold.
Anyhow, I'm glad that he's a fan. I'm on a kick lately with the whole idea of preserving history (keeping the "old foods" alive). Serious cooking is an art form. And it's not something that comes without practice and dedication. It's romantic to me to think about the ways in which recipes are passed along, from generation to generation. And I want to be part of that. So, I've been thinking that I need to learn the art of gritzwurst-making so that I can pass it along. And having Paul on board will make a difference.
If only it had a better name...