A Sausage Scandal

And a "Hamilton" star

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Had a delightful talk with Emmy Raver-Lampman of Hamilton and Umbrella Academy about craft services - aka all the snacks people working on productions get. The backstory is kind of funny! Be sure to send Emmy your Toronto restaurant recommendations.

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Here is a transcript of the episode.

Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang/Flickr

The Swiss Affair of the Sausages

By Julia Métraux

While sausages are common throughout the world, different countries and regions have altered this meat product to fit their culture and tastes. People in Switzerland, for example, have long enjoyed white sausages, which are made of veal, bacon, spices, and fresh milk. These Swiss white sausages were first mentioned in the Butchers' Guild of St. Gallen’s publication in 1438, making this style of tubed meat at least five centuries old.

These sausages have not gone without scandal. On March 9, 1522, 12 men gathered at printer Christoph Froschauer’s house in Zurich. The group included priests Huldrych Zwingli and Leo Jud, who criticized Bible-based laws, which included fasting during Lent. For those 40 days, in the early 16th century, people were not allowed to eat meat at all. At this time there was growing resentment against the Catholic Church, including by the 12 men who gathered at Froschauer’s building. March 9 was four days into Lent, and baker Heinrich Äberli did the unthinkable: He ate a couple of sausages.

Froschauer was arrested for allowing this immoral consumption of sausages to take place at his house. Zwingli defended Froschauer, and eating sausages during Lent, in his sermon “Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods.” Zwingli argued that people should be given the right to practice Christianity in whichever way they desire. “If you want to fast, do so; if you do not want to eat meat, don’t eat it; but allow Christians a free choice,” Zwingli said. Zwingli added that people should “grant also your neighbor the privilege of Christian liberty.”

Huldrych Zwingli, Kunst Museum Winterthur

Just as the response to the act of sausage-eating blasphemy was swift, so too was the support that Zwingli gained. Soon, fights were breaking out in taverns between people with opposing views on the scandal, which would be later known as the Affair of the Sausages. Froschauer had to apologize for hosting this improper event, but the stage was set for the Swiss reformation movement. The Affair of the Sausages was the first time that Swiss religious leaders had bluntly challenged rules from the Catholic Church since Martin Luther’s Reformation ideology, which Zwingli supported, was nailed to that door. 

The sausage-eating became a smash success for Zwingli. By the next Lent, fasting was abolished in Zurich. He became an influential figure in Swiss Protestantism until he was killed during the Kappel Wars in 1531. Christoph Froschauer went on to publish the first Reformation Bible a few years after the Affair of the Sausages. And Swiss people eat sausages whenever they want.🌭

Bibliography here.

More Food Reading:

  • There are many national “best of” restaurant lists published every year, but this one takes a totally different tack than usual, highlights the ethnic cuisines - immigrant and indigenous - that make each state’s cuisine unique and delicious. I had no idea about Burmese cuisine in Indiana or coastal Amish in Delaware. I’m smarter now!

  • Turns out aguachile, in its original form, has nothing to do with shrimp. It’s more about the chiltepín, which grows in the inland areas of Sinaloa. ) I tried a flake of chiltepín once; for 5 minutes I could see through my ears and taste through my fingers.)

  • I don’t understand the cult of Tim Horton’s, but it’s interesting to read about!

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