But my mother's side is also German American, through my grandfather's family. Through this, I grew up loving the cuisine, although a lot of it I didn't even realize was German American, like potatoes pan-fried with onions. At dinner, we would be served an ungodly amount of sauerkraut with bratwurst, my mother boasting about its health benefits and vitamin C content. Even her favorite cookbook is largely German American, The Joy of Cooking. And I've already blogged about Pennsylvania Dutch pickled beet eggs, where German Americans added beets to pickled eggs for glorious pink color and flavor.
I even look more German American than anything and inherited his family's light coloring, compared to the Japanese and American Indian that allows my brother to tan. I would look more the part in a dirndl than a kimono.
So when thinking about all this, it came at no surprise that somewhere early in my childhood I was introduced to liverwurst and braunschweiger. It was, and still is, one of my favorite sandwiches. As a kid, I remember being teased during lunch because of it, friends saying that it was weird and smelly. I was so confused, thinking that eating a sandwich rather than Japanese snacks would make me fit in.
|No seriously, it's delish!|
So in elementary school, if you can eat a braunschweiger liver sausage sandwich one day, and a snack pack of shiso katsuo ninniku, nori, and dried cuttlefish the next, you will be immune to embarrassment for your adult life. Seriously, the amount of teasing I got as a kid, I could now strut naked through the mall with a dried squid in one hand and a whole log of braunschweiger in the other without breaking a sweat. What bothered me as a child empowers me as an adult.
And when I finally convinced kids to try some spread on a cracker, guess what? They loved it. Its mild flavor and smooth texture wins everyone over, and I really don't think it smells at all now. My mother probably "forgot" to tell us what we were eating, until we were hooked.
1 sourdough bagel or 2 slices of bread (rye, sourdough, or whole wheat)
2 slices of cheddar cheese
2-3 small gherkin pickles or cornichons
hot mustard, whole grain mustard, or thick honey mustard
You can make your own honey mustard like I did, by taking honey and stirring in some mustard powder. I find that commercial honey mustard is too liquidy and corn syrupy. Hot mustard and whole grain mustard are also solid choices. Toast the bagel or bread, and then spread both sides with mustard to taste (I am unapologetic in my excessive mustard-loving). Top one side with the two slices of cheese, then stack the liverwurst on top. Slice the pickles into thin slices, and place on top of the liverwurst. Place the top slice of bread/bagel on top, and serve with chips. You can also make it open faced, which I find actually makes it easier to eat, but it is not as portable.
Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Hash
Pickled Beet Eggs