For lovers of succulent ground meat dishes, Victoria Wise has written a consciousness-raising cookbook that pooh-poohs the notion that sausage has to be encased — or even made of meat.
In “Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage,” a slim, practical, paperback cookbook from 10 Speed Press, she gives the home cook permission to go freestyle. Wise opens up a world of savory ground meat, fish and vegetable dishes that stand on their own or work as part of a bigger picture.
In Wise’s world, sausage is a big category. Gefilte fish with homemade horseradish; Asian style-minced chicken in lettuce leaves; merguez patties with couscous; spaghetti and meatballs; and her “house hamburger” all qualify as sausage.
She demystifies the whole genre with clearly written, unfussy and inventive recipes, though the basics — Italian, breakfast, chorizo, Toulouse and Polish — are present and accounted for.
Her writing is lively and her kitchen principles unflaggingly high. A sausage expert, Wise opened Pig by the Tail — the first charcuterie on the West Coast — in 1973, across the street from Chez Panisse, where she had been the opening chef.
She has written many books since closing the shop in 1984, devoting herself to the home cook with whom she intuitively empathizes.
Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage
Written by Victoria Wise
Publisher: 10 Speed Press