Wednesday 8 August
It's been up around 100 degrees every day, and stepping out of doors is like walking into a clothes dryer. So quick meals that don't require much cooking become yet more attractive. Years ago, we had some excellent garlic metts from Kroger's Sausages, though they haven't made any since then. But while nosing around Eckerlin's butcher shop at Findlay market, Barbara spotted some sausages labeled "garlic franks." As Eckerlin's also sells home-made sauerkraut, she bought both, for a casual but complete summer meal.
When I (Barbara, if you haven't guessed already) was growing up in New York, my mother bought sauerkraut and pickles fresh from the barrels of "Very Good the Pickle Man" outside the Essex Street Market, on the Lower East Side. He was called that because the only words he ever spoke were "Very good, very good!" But Mom had to buy twice as much as she normally would for a Jewish family of five - because I could eat as much of it by myself as the other four combined. I got to be quite a feinschmecker about it too; for example, winter sauerkraut is far superior in texture and flavor to summer sauerkraut. But as Very Good and his barrels are long gone, one must compromise.
One would also never apply heat to true Lower East Side sauerkraut, but for regular kraut, I follow the American trend. We pre-fried the franks in a bit of oil, then threw the sauerkraut in on top and let them steam. It still needed more flavor, so we washed out the remains of a jar of mustard with a bit of Bitburger beer and poured it over everything. If you had a bun, you could put the dogs in it, but we just had them on a plate with more mustard; and of course, beer to go with it.
This meal satisfied the sauerkraut maven, but it gave the non-sauerkraut-maven an upset stomach. Ah well - perhaps we will return to this being a meal that one of us has when the other has to be away.