Raw Pork Sandwich Anyone?

Image: Nize from Wikipedia.

Our web and book designer Roman Jaster dropped by the Root Simple compound for an annual look under the hood at our website’s internal workings. After spending most of the meeting calming me down over my existential crisis relating to the troubles of running a blog long past when blogs were still a thing, Roman mentioned an unusual sandwich called¬†Hackepeter that he ate on his last trip back to where he grew up in East Germany.

Image: Boris Kumicak + Kai Namslau from Wikipedia.

Also known as Mett, let it be known that we’re talking about a sandwich made from raw pork. The buffet version is, inexplicably, shaped into a stylized 1970s hedgehog with the addition of chopped onions. Hackenpeter or Mett is a simple dish consisting of just pork, salt, pepper and sometimes caraway seeds, garlic and raw onions in the case of the hedgehog version. Sometimes it’s topped with a raw egg. Germans commonly buy it from a butcher already spiced.

As our web design meeting continued, my aversion to barfing prompted an extended conversation on food safety that, as usual, left the question of the wisdom of culinary thrill seeking unanswered. Sometimes you just have to have to strap on the wingsuit and visit the raw oyster, fugu and Hackenpeter buffet line. In the case of raw pork the safety issues involve salmonella and, more rarely, trichinosis, which is caused by a nematode. Trichinosis is rare in Germany as all pigs are inspected for the disease at slaughter.

As for the etymology of this dish, Mett comes from the Old Saxon word for “food.” German speakers will have to help me figure out why this pork tartare dish is also known as “hackepeter” or “chopped Peter” in English.

While looking up hackepeter recipes I came across the German version of Eric of Garden Fork who has a Hackepeter video for you as well as a nice pyramidal greenhouse thingy. Here’s a recipe in English if you’d like to roll your own batch of Hackenpeter.

Roman had the idea of creating a special Root Simple podcast, in the vein of Serial, where we trace the origin of Hackepeter and eat and drink our way across Germany. Guess that’s what our Patreon is for folks . . .

Leave a comment

8 Comments

  1. I don’t know about eating raw pork but I do know that you should not consider stopping the blog.
    Claire in Melbourne, Australia

  2. The laws are so strict in Germany about what hogs may eat, how they are slaughtered, and the aftercare of pork, that it is safe to eat it raw! People love it and they aren’t grossed out, as it is safe and a custom. In France raw beef (steak Tartar) is a big deal…

  3. I read your blog everyday. In fact I have your Rootsimple tab right up at the top of my page. Please continue blogging. I am always interested in what you are doing and thinking. And I have learned so much from the blog and your books. I hope you write another one.
    Oh, and I miss hearing from Kelly. I hope she is doing well.

  4. As far as I am concerned blogs are still a thing, and this one is my favorite. I come here for truth,beauty, how-to and weirdness. For a vegan, meat sandwiches, raw especially, fall into the “ewe-gross” category of weirdness. Thanks for being here.

  5. I totally missed the part where you were having blog-related existential crisis. Please continue… hang on… let me go donate, and then I can say that.

    I am greatly fond of your blog. Please, obviously, do what you need, but… well… yeah.

    And I too, miss Kelly’s posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.