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If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a sausage made from beef, pork, and oats, similar to scrapple but much more tasty. It’s available in many restaurants in Cincinnati, and pretty rare even 50 miles from there, so it probably came from Germany.
Can anyone with a German dictionary or a command of the language tell me the origin of the word?
A friend says he thinks it’s a woman’s name, like “Hansel and Goetta”. Well, Caesar Cardini and William Waldorf Astor lent their names to salads, and John D. Rockefeller to oysters, so it’s not inconceivable that Goetta either invented the sausage (a la Cardini), owned the sausage works (a la Astor), or impressed the inventor (a la Rockefeller), but it’s also possible that goetta is a german word that means “oats for people instead of horses”.
And yes, I know it’s Hansel and Gretel.
Not that I entirely trust this, but from Wikipedia:
The word “Goetta” comes from the Low German word grötte. North of Cincinnati, specifically in the region surrounding Darke, Mercer, Shelby, and Auglaize counties, goetta is often known by the term “grits”, not to be confused with hominy grits. This usage of the word “grits” stems from the High German word “grütze,” which is an equivalent of the Low German grötte.
Some wikipedia articles are more valid than others. The section you quote lists two references, neither of which back up that section.
That part about Darke, Mercer, Shelby, and Auglaize counties is especially intriguing, In the 1970s and early 1980s. I had occasion to eat at many restaurants in that area, especially around Wapak, Greenville, and Grand Lake, and there wasn’t goetta available on the menu in ANY of them. I didn’t even find it present in Montgomery or Preble counties, although I can’t claim to have set foot in all the mom-and-pop restaurants in Dayton by any means.
I suspect that the author of this astounding claim is talking about his own family members, rather than about the community at large, and if that’s allowed, then I would ;ole to have you meet my sister-in-law who says that the Coney Island in Brooklyn (which is not an island, unlike Coney Island near Cincinnati, which relocated to Kings Mills and is now no longer on an island, calls itself Kings Island) was named for the wiener with meat sauce.
He also refers to “pork shoulder or ‘Cali'” and I can’t find any place online where Cali doesn’t refer to either a city in Columbia or to California. The front shoulder of a hog is a butt (or picnic of it’s been cured), and the rear shoulder is called a ham (whether it’s been cured or not.)
Cincinnati seems to have been settled primarily by those from the Black Forest area of Germany and from Switzerland rather than NW Germany, as evidenced by the popularity of Fastnachts and Black Forest cake, so he has his High German and Low German confused.
Google Translate says the German grötte means GROETTE; translating from French, it’s CAVE, so I wonder of that should be grotto. The German grütze translates as groats, which would be OK if the sausage was called grits, but that doesn’t get us to goetta.
So that’s why I asked here, where I respect virtually everybody, rather than relying on Wikipedia, where so many seem to line their hats with aluminum foil.