Wurst runs in my family. You see, I wouldn't be here without it. In the early hours of a cold, very cold, Icelandic winter day, my grandfather, the great Hvatr Luster, returned home from a year and a half of copious Nazi-butt-kicking and name-taking and found himself hungry outside a butcher's shop in the outskirts of Reykjavík. The elder Luster, an imposing man of massive stature and muscle mass and used to getting his way, demanded entrance at once and to be served the hartwurst (salami for you English speakers) in the window.
A tiny, angry, Irish immigrant woman, however refused to hand it over. Food was short in those days, winter and war being complicit in this, and she'd rather part with her right leg, she stated, than hand over the wurst. And, to make a point, she bonked my grandfather on the noggin with it.
Hvatr, veteran of many a winning battle with German tanks, was knocked out cold. Thusly bested he did what any self-respecting Norse would do and married the woman who would become the first female master butcher in Sweden a decade later.
But even without this incident, sausage is truly a culinary wonder to me. The satisfying crunch of the casing, followed by an avalanche of juice and the gratifying finish of seasoned meat and fats. Nothing, not even the most elaborate dishes served in the world's most expensive restaurants, can top this.
Good butchers are hard to come by in these days of mega-mart prepackaged foods. Luckily we're in Dallas, the city that is to meat eaters what San Francisco is to vegans (another reason I moved here from the Left Coast). There's good wurst to be had in this town, I hear, so I am setting out to find and write about them -- partially for my own and, hopefully, your edification and future expanded meat market laundry list. With that, dear reader, please do let me know about your favorite sausage shops, real butchers and meat purveyors in the city and about. We have a great summer of meats ahead of us and it'd be a shame to waste it on mass-processed fare.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.