Ach!! Und Weh!!! Calamity, dear reader! The genuine German Bratwurst is on the verge of extinction! No, I am not kidding! The age-old delicacy, whose manufacture was first recorded in the year 1313, is being hounded from the menu and proscribed from the carte du jour. And it is all the work of a devilish conspiracy of the Iranians and the European Union.
No, I am not kidding! Really – for once - I’m not!
I guess you are eager to know why. Let me explain.
Due to recent tensions over Iranian oil, its nuclear plan(t)s, and Western sanctions against the land of the Ayatollahs, all sorts of Iranian products are getting scarce. Don’t ask me how this works precisely, but it so happens that one of those products is Iranian sheep intestines, which are of superior quality and have therefore become an essential ingredient in the Nürnberger Bratwurst, one of Germany’s finest and most popular sausages (picture, dear reader, the superb sight of those huge ocean-going freighters full of sheep gut steaming into Hamburg harbour…).
Because of scarcity, the price of Iranian sheep guts has skyrocketed, and with it the manufacturing costs of the Nürnberger, which have tripled over the last year and a half. Understandably, German butchers are raising their prices, and this has the predictable evil effect on sales and turnover. Lower sales mean higher overhead costs… Prices will need to rise still further… People buy even fewer sausages… And so on, and so forth… A vicious and infernal circle has set in!
So find yourself some cheaper sheep guts elsewhere, I hear you berate the Bratwurst manufacturers. Yes, indeed, that’s sound advice. But they are not allowed to do so, because of Brussels regulation. The EU Protected Geographical Status rulebook, which regulates such matters, prescribes – in exchange for an appellation contrôlée - the strictest criteria for a bratwurst made in Nuremberg to be called a Nürnberger Bratwurst. To deserve this noble label, a sausage must be made inside the city of Nuremberg, weigh 25 grams, have a minimal length of 7 to 9 cm (by the same set of rules the famously hot Brussels Bratwurst must always be the biggest in Europe…), and it’s juicy pork must be stuffed in top quality intestine… No way around that! It is easier to square a circle than to solve this dilemma!
Are we to let this attack on tradition to go unopposed, dear reader? Shall we be so callous as to allow this Crime Against Gastronomy? NO, I say! No No No! We must act and we must rise. We must make a fist and close our ranks! So join me in Protest! Let your voice be heard, ye men women of taste and sophistication! Tell it in Gath and proclaim it in Ashkelon! Let them hear it in Brussels even as in Teheran, and proudly repeat with me those immortal words of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
“Ich bin ein Nürnberger!”
That will teach them!
[PS The situation is getting truly desperate, dear reader! Der Spiegel Online of 24 February last informs me that production of the Nürnberger Bratwurst has plummeted dramatically to a mere 1 billion units in 2011!]