Axis and Appetize

One thing I caught myself wondering the other day: If World War 2 had manifested itself as a cook/booze-off, how would we have fared? America/France/England versus Germany/Japan/Italy.  I’m obviously oversimplifying, as over 51 countries made up the Allies by 1945.

Still, it’s fun to speculate.  How innocuous would conflict be if the kitchens were battlefields and the bars were bunkers? Maybe we would find something reassuring in the fact that food and drink transcends borders- that there’s an underlying commonality to the ingredients we use and the things we do to them to make them palatable and culturally appealing. Name me a country that doesn’t use fermentation in a single dish. Hard, right?

I like to think the photo above embodies this idea in some sort of way.  Schaller & Weber Beerwurst paired with Suntory Yamazaki 12yr Whisky. The art of butchering and charcuterie is a global one, and ensures that animal parts don’t go to waste. Sure, the Germans are widely known for their sausages and meat products, but you don’t have to look far to find other countries and cultures being awesome with their cold cuts.  Beerwurst covers the grey area between an outright cut of meat and the homogenized abstraction of meat as found in Bologna (which is delicious). Meaty, fatty chunks throughout the cold cut almost seem to act as a less subtle reminder that you were eating something that was once living. It brings with it a texture that has personality that compliments its more intense flavor.

While Beerwurst’s most popular liquid accompaniment may in fact be quite obvious, i thought a Japanese Whisky might be more fitting.  An Eastern approach applied to Western boozemaking results in a spirit with an intricate yet soft taste. It’s both refined and comforting at the same time.  I smirk whenever I drink Suntory as I remember numerous instances where I had to inform people that it isn’t a fake whisky company that was created solely for the purpose of a cameo appearance in “Lost in Translation.” In fact, they’ve been around since 1923.

Maybe it’s just me, but it makes for a thought-provoking snack.

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