Friday, April 28, 2017

We’ve Got Souse! – April 28, 1967

Now here’s something you’re not going to see in the newspaper these days: an ad promoting the availability of Sugardale souse. It ran in the Journal on April 28, 1967 – a mere 50 years ago today.

What’s that? You don’t know what souse is? (The ad asks the same question too, in fine print.) Then I guess you didn’t have any Germans in your family.

During the Depression, my father’s family had to move in with his German grandparents. Consequently, he was exposed to German language and culture – including food. Grandpa Esterle did his own butchering and made his own head cheese – which is also known as souse.

We grew up eating it in the 1960s because Dad still liked it, although I was never crazy about it – probably because of the way it looked. There were just too many strange-looking things in that speckled, gelatin-like mass. (Dad liked pickled pig’s feet too.)

Then a few years ago, I happened to be in Hansa Import House in Cleveland on Lorain Avenue (near where I work) and impulsively bought a 1/2 pound of souse to bring back to work and gross out my co-workers. None of them would go near the stuff. But after nibbling it all afternoon, I discovered that after all these years I thought it was pretty good.

Just another example of a good idea that took a while to catch on.

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