Why So Many Sausages Are Named After European Cities

The art of sausage making can be traced back to ancient Europe, according to Queen City Sausage, when domesticated animals meant more protein, and more protein meant food that could be stored and eaten later on. Sausages came to the rescue; a product cheap and easy to prepare. With intestines stuffed with smashed meat, it's no surprise the German word "wurst" describes ground meat that has been mixed with a variety of ingredients and seasonings (via the German Food Guide). Yet different cuts of meat, varying smoking techniques, and a cook's preference of spices could dramatically alter the taste of sausage. Often, one sausage recipe might inspire the invention of another.

Take the elite-preferred sandwich meat, mortadella, for example: Thick chunks of meat speckled with peppercorn and pistachios (per The Food Wonder). Over time, reports the University of Wyoming, this delicacy was sold as thinner slices in Bologna, Italy. While you may be well acquainted with the deli lunch meat, it isn't just bologna that's named after a European place.

Secret sausage recipes

With so many variables affecting sausages sold at markets, recipes became local secrets and were often named after the towns and places they were made (per Via Travelers). Middle Tennessee State University's The Walker Library explains that the taste and appearance of recipes would be impacted by the meats and seasonings available in different localities. Take Debreziner, for example, a pork sausage named after the Hungarian city Debrecen. This garlicky red-orange sausage was sold from Viennese street carts in the 19th century, reports Meats and Sausages, and the meat was uniquely spiced with pepper and paprika. Frankfurters, also called Vienna sausages, were supposedly created by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna (via Visiting Vienna). Even different versions of salami are named after places; Italy alone boasts over 300 kinds of salami, confirms DeLallo, all from different regions throughout the country. 

Take note of the name when you buy sausage for your next meal; it may hold secrets about a city's special recipe.