Monday, November 2, 2015

On liverwurst

On some days here in Hamburg, the clouds are so thick that they appear to be a suspended grey sea hovering over our heads.  One can't help but look up, nervously wondering when they will release their waters on the ground, necessitating the donning of a ridiculous but practical polka-dotted rain poncho to protect myself and the baby from becoming drenched.  A rain poncho, instead of a rain coat, because my adorable but large baby enjoys being worn instead of strolled and a poncho allows room for both of us.

And just when it doesn't seem possible that these dense, thick clouds can allow for the existence of a sun, a hole opens up and sunbeams announce their presence, and that threat of becoming a walking, talking polka-dotted Violet Beauregarde (after she becomes the blueberry) no longer seems so imminent.

Liverwurst is an unfortunately named food.  We don't often like to be reminded of vital internal organs and of their consumption.  In English, it is as though we are saying "worst."  So "worst liver" is right there in the name.  Its appearance generally ranges from a sickly pink to a sickly grey. Liverwurst does not give the best of impressions, to say the least.

However, liverwurst isn't the grey looming cloud of foods.  No no no.  It is the sunbeam.  just when you think the worst is going to happen, you realize that you were mistaken.  The sun is there, the clouds are actually passing overhead, rain is no longer imminent, the sky is actually quite beautiful with the contrast of the grey clouds and sun peeking through, you don't have to wear the rain poncho, and that the bite of liverwurst, the bite you had to brace yourself for by closing your eyes, you have taken is absolutely delicious.
It is so moody, so umami, with a taste of salt that your taste buds absolutely cannot get enough of.

To enjoy liverwurst to its fullest, we have taken to making breakfast tartines.  I know, I know, there should be a photo, but alas, the imagination will have to suffice.  A smear of butter on warm toast, followed by a generous spreading of liverwurst then with slices of cucumber topped with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of sea salt and lemon zest.  One must be sure to use a bread that gets some crunch when toasted, something solid for your teeth to get through, as that contrast of the bread with the soft spread is important.  A bit of sun to start the day.

To make, you will need some
farmers bread
cucumber slices
lemon zest

Toast that bread, that butter it.  Spread on some liverwurst.  Add cucumber slices.  Sprinkle salt and pepper, then finish with some lemon zest.  Guten appetit!

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