Butchers

Many ethnic butcher shops in Chicago were run by Germans who brought a wide variety of sausage recipes from the old country.  Artisanal sausage making done in local butcher shops were fixtures of Chicago’s neighborhood food scene. Most were ethnic shops such as German, Jewish, Polish, Bohemian, Italian and later Hispanic. Although much reduced in number, butcher shops and their sausages are still scattered across the city and suburbs, their products highly prized by their customers. Sausage seasoning formulae have always been trade secrets. Companies such as Chicago’s B. Heller & Co, founded in 1893 produced seasoning packages and other products used in sausage manufacturing. The company’s eventual range of products was extraordinary, everything from its famous Zanzibar Spices to rat poison.

Polish sausage vendor, Maxwell Street, 1955

Photo by Mildred Mead. From the University of Chicago Photographic Archives, http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/. Image: apf2-09310.

German Sausages

Koch, Hermann, Die Fabrikation Feiner Fleischund Wurstwaren. Berlin: Allgemeinen Fleischer Zeitung. 1959. Crerar collection: TE1f 500.