Posted on September 7, 2016
As we celebrate salami, today, we might wonder – what exactly IS salami?
It's a kind of sausage. As you probably know, a sausage is a tubular kind of meat created by grinding one or more sort of meat, usually adding other ingredients for flavor, and encasing the meat in a tubular skin.
What makes a salami different from other sorts of sausages? It's been cured – salted and spiced, left to ferment, and air-dried. Because of this, salami can be stored at room temperature for more than a month, even after it's been cut! Back in the old days, when only the rich had ice boxes or refrigerators, and back in the even older days, when nobody had refrigerators, curing meat was very important!
The word salami comes from the Italian salame (the plural form of salame is salami). Actually, in English, salami can be either singular or plural.
Apparently, every region tends to have its own special kind of salami (called by that name or another). Typical, familiar salami here in the U.S. tends to be beef or pork, but other meats can be used...like venison (deer), turkey, goose, even horse meat! Some of the other ingredients may include garlic, minced fat, vinegar, wine, salt, white pepper, other herbs and spices.
Here are some other names for salami: chorizo, cacciatore, kulen, pepperoni, saucisson sec, lardo. Some of these are familiar !and yummy!). I don't know that lardo sounds that delicious, though...
On Salami Day, of course you can celebrate by eating salami! Do a taste test of several different sorts, possibly eating them with crackers and cheese.
Or be creative and make a salami-pasta dish, or maybe salami nests! Or...how about angry-bird salami sandwiches?
Don't try this at home! Making a salami “floor” – like conceptual artist Wim Delvoye did (pictured below) – would be really expensive!
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