The Biggest Sausage in Children’s Literature

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.


procession-sausage-hhheatingtogethrtsizeandweight2335477year223344We 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.

and-it-was,-pictureThanks 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.

Thanksgiving Kitchen Capers For Foodies!

The chef

The chef. Aunt Jo and Uncle George. Kritters of the Kitchen Kingdom. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1922). Cotsen

Described in the text as “Mister Murphy, the cook from France,”  this character is clearly a forerunner of  Mr. Potato Head.  The exhaustive site dedicated to the history and collecting of this beloved toy does not mention the inventor’s George Lerner’s forebearers, Aunt Jo and Uncle George…

"No dessert for you, young lady, until you eat those Brussel sprouts!"

“No dessert for you, young lady, until you eat those Brussel sprouts!”

Next we have what appears to be what today’s foodies call a heritage breed of bird without the modern factory-farm turkey’s huge breast (it’s actually a wild turkey).  According to the plate’s explanatory text, the turkey was brought from America to Europe by Jesuit missionaries in 1524 and was named after the country of Turkey from whence so many luxuries were imported:

The carnivore's pièce de resistance

The carnivore’s pièce de resistance. Illustrated Book of Natural History. Part I. Printed in oil colors by Henry B. Ashmead. (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1858).

This recipe (or directions for constructing a simple food sculpture) shows that Joost Elfers, Saxton Freyman, and Johannes van Dam were real Johnny-come-latelies when it comes to the art of playing with food. Check out this vegetarian alternative to the traditional turkey:

The vegetarian alternative

Elizabeth and Louise Bache.  When Mother Lets Us Make Candy.  New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1915.

What about the kitchen where the feast is prepared?   Here’s Cinderella toiling in a state-of-the-art facility from the turn of the nineteenth century…

Other people use Chinet at Thanksgiving when there is a crowd...

Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper (London: J. Harris, 180 ).

Or here is Dame Trot peeking in while her clever cat is hard at work.

DameTrot1.cropIt’s time to uncork the wine and carve the bird!


DameTrot2.cropWith any luck, there will still be some stuffing left for later…

Where did all the left-overs go????!!!!

Grace Kasson  Tin Tan Tales. Illustrated by E. Tsandre.  (London: Ernest Nister/ New York: E. P. Dutton, [not after 1912, c1897]).

Our apologies to the authors and illustrators of these children’s books from whence these images have been wrested and placed in not entirely appropriate contexts!

 Have a happy holiday weekend from Team Cotsen!

Aaron Pickett, Andrea Immel, Dana Sheridan, and Jeff Barton


Abbie N. Smith, King Gobbler, Boston : Educational Publishing Company, c1906