A New Book, Sausage, From Oakland's Victoria Wise Takes The Terror Out Of Sausage Making

A new book takes the terror out of sausage making

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Decades before sausage became the fetishized plaything of meat-mad chefs in the Bay Area, Victoria Wise was at the forefront of the ground-meat movement.

Her brand-new book, Sausage, shows why.

The collection of recipes is a logical extension of the well-crafted charcuterie she and her team produced at Pig-by-the-Tail, the now-closed French-inspired deli she opened in Berkeley in 1973. Wise, along with nearby Chez Panisse, sparked the region's–and the country's–ongoing obsession with rustic cuisine.

In contrast to the labor-intensive recipes in American Charcuterie, Wise's classic from the 1980s, the less demanding Sausage is a text for our times. The book's six chapters are organized by meat (pork, lamb, beef, poultry, seafood), with the addition of one short chapter on vegetarian "sausages."

Her influences swerve across the planet, so Mexican meatballs spiked with cumin and oregano are pages away from a sparkling soup with Hmong-style meatballs, and saucy Italian-sausage hoagies with peppers and tomato (click here to download the recipe).

Best of all, Wise insists that stuffing your own casings and grinding your own meat is unnecessary (though she dutifully provides an appendix for the intrepid home cook.) But to her, cooking at all is what matters most. We approve.