Mike Sula writes this week’s feature on the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance’s first symposium, which was sausage-themed, and held last month in Chicago. Local food experts from all over the region converged to discuss brats, bratwurst, hot dogs, corn dogs, and the like, food items which have a rich and varied history in Upper Midwest. One of the goals of the symposium was to encourage membership in the alliance, which is filing for non-profit status - this is important, because apparently no other organization is devoted to the preservation of Midwestern foodways. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Meanwhile, a few things stuck out at us:
1) “There was no ketchup in sight.” (and also, the title of the article is “Hold the Ketchup”)
Why are people so virulently opposed to eating hot dogs with ketchup, honestly? It’s the most popular condiment in America (take that, salsa!), and it really does taste good with hot dogs. Of all the regionalisms to keep dear, this one seems a little pointless. Not that we’d advocate wholesale switching from mustard to ketchup, don’t get us wrong, but it’s like saying raw tuna should never be eaten with spicy mayo because it’s not traditional. Don’t beat yourself up over it!
2) “…Thanks to overfishing and pollution, not many shellfish come from the Illinois River anymore, but there are still restaurants in the area that serve a seasonal local specialty: fried turtle.”
We know people eat turtles, but we had turtles as pets when we were kids and it sort of makes us sad. Also, when we eat our first turtle, it will not be fried. Maybe in the form of soup?
3) “…food historian Andy Smith put forth the controversial idea that a hamburger is a type of sausage”
Whoa! But isn’t the lack of casing an issue? We say yes.