One of the very first "instant" foods to be invented was the "pea sausage" (or Erbswurst in German), which was a large, sausage-like cylinder made of green pea powder and other ingredients. Although called a "sausage," the real purpose of this item was to make instant green pea soup - simply chop off a piece, add water, and boil for a minute or two and you're all set!

The pea sausage first rose to prominence thanks to its use by the Prussian military. In the 1860s, the Prussians had been looking for a way to feed their army on the cheap, with something that was nourishing but easily transportable and not easily spoiled. Having tested out a wide variety of options, the Prussian War Ministry decided that one of the most promising was a powdered pea soup served with bread. The only problem was how to transport all of that pea powder.

Enter the pea sausage, which was invented in 1867 by Johann Heinrich Grüneberg. Grüneberg's bright idea was to mix the pea powder with a shortening made from beef fat, which created a sausage-like texture and could be molded into easily-transported sausauge-like cylinders. The Prussian War Ministry liked the idea so much that they purchased Grüneberg's recipe and built a dedicated factory to produce the sausages, churning out 5000 tons of pea sausage during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

The sausages proved to be a hit with the soldiers and later spread to the general population. In 1889 the Knorr corporation bought the license, and continues to produce pea sausage for the German domestic market to this day.

The present ingredients of a Knorr pea sausage:

dried pea powder, vegetable fat, salt, smoked bacon (pork, salt, smoke), celery extract, carrot extract, leek extract, onion extract, spinach extract, yeast extract, monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate

Cooking Instructions:

Place one chunk of pea sausage (approximately 1/6 of 1 sausage) in a sauce pan and add 250 ml of water. Bring to a boil while stirring and cook for 2-3 minutes. Makes 1 serving.

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