What are Vienna Sausages and are they really from Vienna?

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Vienna sausages are those tiny little cocktail wieners that are packaged in a can with a pull top lid. They come in several varieties, or flavors (Regular, Lite, BBQ, Hot 'n Spicy, Smoked Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, Cajun, Regular, and Chicken). They are salty, and mushy, and by the opinion of every overseas soldier I ever knew, The Food OF The Gods!

No, they did not come from Vienna nor are they based, even loosely, on any sausage ever sent out the door of a Wien metzgerei. But, they are fabulous.

Not having been on the marketing team of Armour Meats at the time of product development, I can only guess that the name is a derivation of the term wiener that is sometimes used for American hot dogs. The wiener (a sausage or wurst variety specifically originating in Vienna) has a long history in Europe, especially Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Wieners, the European variety, are similar to hot dogs in appearance, but little else. They have a natural casing, are longer, and thinner. They are served with bread or Brot, but not on a bun. Typically, the only condiment eaten with wieners is mustard. The word wiener is literally translated from Wien (Vienna auf Deutsch).

The love affair between Vienna Sausages and US soldiers goes back to the birth of the Armour canned meat product. Finding themselves thousands of miles from home and the tastes of home, and surrounded by the foods of strange lands, US soldiers looked for a reminder, something to keep them connected. They also kept an eye to ease of transport, being ever on the move, and convenience in delivery, again being ever on the move. Hence, the Vienna Sausage. Vienna Sausages are packed in a small, easily stored container, a pull top can. For many hungry grunts, it is as simple as pulling a tab, and dumping the contents down the throat. Vienna Sausage servings are small enough to eat in nearly one gulp, and contain an entire day's recommended supply of sodium (another plus for the GI on the march). Their seasoning goes well with John Wayne biscuits (C-Rat crackers for those who never experienced them), and in a pinch were easily converted to currency for those emergency in-the-field transactions (John Wayne bars--C-Rat chocolate--or cigarettes).

Yes, Vienna Sausages are as inseparable from the American GI as the combat boot, the M16, and letters home. And, they're tasty and nutritious. They just did not come from Vienna
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