Suggested Menu Item for a Super Bowl Party from a Children’s Book ??????

Overindulgence doesn’t end with the 12th day of Christmas, it wraps up with the obligatory spread on Super Bowl Sunday.   To usher out the holiday season, we offer up a seasonal story with a recipe in the spirit of Kate Greenaway Award winner Helen Cooper’s Pumpkin Soup picture book trilogy.








We can’t vouch for the veracity of The Wonderful History of the Great Sausage (New York: James Miller, ca. 1880).  But it seems likely that it was translated from an illustrated German-language children’s book or Die Fliegende Blatter, like Schwind’s “Trials of Sir Winter” featured in the previous post.   And it is our considered opinion that the charcuterie in the story must have been a hard smoked sausage if it required a saw to slice.

A recipe from an extremely tattered 1967 printing of The Joy of Cooking follows, just in case one of our loyal followers will be inspired to substitute a Wunderwurst for Buffalo wings at their spread for Super Bowl XLIX…   The recipe will have to be multiplied many times to produce a 1005-yard sausage weighing eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty eight pound, but maybe someone from the world of competitive sausage making can be enlisted to lend a hand.  This is surely a manageable project in comparison to surpassing the  the longest sausage on record (five miles long but of ordinary girth).

Hard Sausage:

Have ready: 2 ½ lbs of peeled potatoes. Cook 12 minutes, drain, and cool overnight covered. 

Grind three times: 2 ½ lbs of top round of beef, 2 ½ lbs of lean pork, and 2 ½ lbs of small-diced pork fat.  Mix with 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tsp saltpeter, and 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper.

Grind the cooked potatoes once and add to the meat.  Work together until well mixed.  Put into sausage casing and smoke. After smoking, hang in a cool dry place, about 1 to 2 months to cure.


Thanks to the remote researcher who sent the query that caused us to stumble across this tale and “Sir Winter” (January 30 2014 post) in the Cotsen Collection, both of which seemed too good to keep to ourselves.

A 15th Anniversary Spectacle of Skeletons

Fifteen years ago today Cotsen opened its gallery doors to the public.   Perhaps we should have drawn people into the space with a seasonal spooktacular, but the previous day’s ribbon-cutting took all the wind out of our sails.  So here to celebrate the occasion are some ghoulish pictures to chill the funny bone and to jolt the brain from Cotsen’s Skelt and Webb Toy Theater Collection.

skeletons and their friendly poisonous reptilesThese pictures of skeletons and their friendly poisonous reptiles come from prints that were part of a juvenile theatre play based on Blue Beard or Female Curiosity!, (1798) a “grand dramatic romance” with script by George Colman the younger and score by Michael Kelly.   Colman and Kelly’s dramatic take on Perrault’s celebrated but grisly fairy tale was inspired by French composer Gretry’s  opera Raoul Barbe Bleue (1789), but they turned it into an over-the-top  “Oriental” fanasy inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.  But why skeletons and not djinns? 

Think of Shakespeare set during the American Civil War or the Roaring Twenties.   It’s the concept, not historical accuracy, that counts.  If Colman and Kelly could reconceive  Bluebeard  as Abomelique, the Turkish tyrant or three-tailed bashaw who was preceded by a standard of horse tails (oh yes, there were live horses on stage), then it’s not such a leap of imagination to have the wife-killing villain stabbed to death by a skeleton and escorted down to hell by a platoon of his vengeful friends.   No wonder the critics hated Colman and Kelly’s alternative to the holiday pantomime and the audiences loved it.

battling skeletons

And if this comes knocking at your door tonight, throw away the healthy treats!

imp riding a bat

Thanks to Mr. Cotsen for making this blog, and everything else Team Cotsen does possible!