Bon appetit! (was Laws and Sausage)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jan 14 00:27:51 UTC 2008

        SASSINGERS.  ***  Seriously, people should be very cautious how they deal in sausages these days.  A deal of dog’s hair has been observed sticking to the door-sill of an eating house down town. . . .  ***
        But there is one thing regarding the sassinger trade about which we have no doubt.  Our readers will recollect that an elephant died last week at the menagerie of June, Titus and Angevine in Christie street, as it was suspected, of poison.  The critter, however, was dissected by Dr. Chilton who pronounced the disease inflammation of the bowel.  Three negroes were employed to remove the remains, which they did in about twenty cartloads, and since then the tables of the eating-houses in Church, Anthony and Thomas streets have groaned under the weight of loads of sausages, of a very peculiar savor.  We make no comment on this circumstance; but leave to our readers to draw their own.  It is a singular fact, however, that the skin of the defunct animal was nine-eighths of an inch thick, which corresponds exactly to the boiled tripe since sold, at sixpence a plate in these refectories.  If the proprietors of the defunct brute gained the money thus made, we should have less!
  to say
; but it is hard that scavengers should thus poison the living and feed upon the dead.
        The Whip and Satirist of New York & Brooklyn, March 5, 1842, p. 1, col. ?  [Note "refectory" again.]

        An unprincipled scoundrel, named Conrad Sweidenmeyer, or some such outlandish name, has long bee in the habit of making sausages and Bologna puddings out of dead rats, cats, dogs, and even horses, by which abominable villainy he has realized a considerable fortune.  The neighbors having suspected him for some time, a watch was set on last Wednesday, when he with eight journeymen were caught in the horrible act.  The infuriate neighbors burst into his slaughter-house and sausage shop, which is in Pitt street, and after administering two dozen lashes with a rope on the bare hide, to all engaged in the business, among whom were two women, they took him out of town with a rope round his neck, and there in the presence of thousands of men, women and Children, they stripped, and tarred and feathered him, after which they suffered him to depart.  Immediately after his return he packed up all his treasure, and left the city.  ***  People can not be too cautious how they even!
sausages -- even when made properly and by Christians, there is something disgusting about them; but as they are now made, by hoeboys, and out of putrid dogs and rats, they are truly horrifying.  The sale of them ought to be interdicted by law.
        Subterranean, June 28, 1845, p. 2, col. 3   [I posted "hoeboy" not long ago.]

        EXCITING SCENE IN A COURT ROOM.  MAKING SAUSAGES OUT OF DOG MEAT.  Dog Fat Recommended for Consuptives.  [at Jefferson Market Court House; Francis Miller and Andrew Schweizer arrested for killing and butchering a large dog, at 48th st. near 11th ave.; Miller: I butcher pigs and make sausages for my family, not for sale; my doctor has recommended dog fat for my consumption; his doctor testifies in support; sausages, parts of the dog, incl. the head, a bloody tub and a pitcher of fat put in evidence: "all of which presented a disgusting appearance"]
        N-Y D Tribune, January 22, 1858, p. 7, col. 5


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
Date: Sunday, January 13, 2008 12:54 pm
Subject: Re: Laws and Sausage

> I used the term "unsavory" as a sort of euphemism for "scandalous."
> In 19th century USA there were frequent scandals involving the use of
> dog meat in making sausages, so much so that this knowledge entered
> popular consciousness and led ultimately to the term "hot dog."  In
> NYC at least there were "dog killers," young men armed with a club who
> would roam the streets looking for any dog, owned or stray, bash it to
> death with the club and sell the carcass to the unscrupulous butcher
> who hired him.  It was a  very well-paid job, btw.
> For further details (and numerous examples of the popular belief of
> dog-meat turning up in sausages) see _Origin Of The Term "Hot Dog"_,
> by Barry Popik, Gerald Cohen, and the late David Shulman, 2004.  (I
> published a limited edition, but copies should be available in a few
> libraries.).  A story on it from my campus' news office is available on:
> The dog-meat-in-sausages theme became a staple of 19th century US
> humor. But I never came across mention (either humorous or serious)
> critical of the inclusion of unmentionable parts of
> pigs/cows/sheep/etc. in sausages.  This was evidently a non-issue in
> the US and (barring evidence to the contrary) in Germany too.
> Gerald Cohen
> ________________________________
> Original message from Laurence Horn, Sat 1/12/2008:
> At 9:03 PM -0600 1/12/08, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
> >Barry sent the message below to a select group of ads-lers, and I
> >now forward it to the entire list.  Btw (independent of Barry's
> >message), we know that the making of sausages could be unsavory in
> >19th century USA (dogs, cats, rats), but did these scandals also
> >occur in Germany?  If the making of sausages in Germany was free of
> >the scandals that sometimes plagued the US, Bismarck probably had no
> >reason to make a disparaging remark about sausages. I.e., perhaps he
> >never made it..
> >
> >Gerald Cohen
> I always assumed the unsavory part had more to do with which body
> parts of the beasties (pig, cow, sheep, whatever) were used to fill
> up the sausage, and not necessarily with anything as extreme as the
> choice of beasties.  I'm sure the unmentionable body parts would have
> been used in Germany, Scotland, China, or wherever; a sausage skin
> hides a multitude of...whatever.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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