It’s British Sausage Week

Regular readers will know my appreciation of Red Tractor.  This week is British Sausage Week.    Lots going on about British Bangers.

Whats in a name…

  • The word sausage derives from the Latin salsisium, meaning something that has been salted
  • According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first specific reference in English came in a fifteenth century vocabulary ‘Salcicia’, a ‘sawsage’
  • Sausages were nicknamed bangers during the Second World War. Their high water content due to the scarcity of other ingredients meant that they were liable to explode when cooked as the water turned to steam
  • Sausages should be cooked slowly over a medium heat and should not be pricked as this lets out the flavor. They will only burst if cooked too quickly!
  • The British sausage even has its own Fan Club, the British Sausage Appreciation Society. The Society has over 5,000 members in the UK. The Highlight of the Society’s year is British Sausage Week which this year takes place from the 5th November to 11th November 2012 History of the sausage
  • Sausages are even older than ancient Greece or Rome ‐ the Sumerians (modern day Iraq) made sausages 5,000 years ago
  • During the early days of the Empire, Romans mixed fresh pork with finely chopped white pine nuts, cumin seed, bay leaves and black pepper
  • In 320 AD, because of their association with pagan festivals, Roman Emperor Constantinus I and the Catholic Church made sausage eating a sin and their consumption was banned! This led to sausages going underground until the ban was lifted
  • It is believed that sausages were brought to Britain by the Romans some time before 400 AD. Since then various English counties have each had their own way of flavoring their local sausage – e.g. Lincolnshire flavors fresh sage and Cheshire uses Caraway and Coriander
  • By the Middle Ages sausage making had spread to Northern Europe and different varieties began to develop as butchers used ingredients available locally. In some locations, early sausage makers became so adept at making distinctive sausages that their fame spread across Europe
  • It was in the reign of Charles I that sausages were divided into links for the first time in Britain.  Once made, sausages used to be stuck up chimneys to be mildly cured

Sausage psychology

  • Delving into the mind of a sausage lover reveals that the combination of a hard exterior and soft interior and the moreish quality and succulent aftertaste makes the sausage irresistible
  • Sausages evoke strong emotional ties to childhood,: memories of favourite comforting meals such as Bangers and Mash and also happy family occasions such as weekend or holiday breakfasts – special in themselves and also often because it was dad doing the cooking!
  •  While the convenient ease of cooking and the range of flavors from the traditional to the ethnic mean that Britons just can’t get enough

The numbers

  • During the year to July 2012 we ate 196,152 tonnes of sausages, spending £707 million.  This represents an increase of 3.1% compared to last year (In 2011 we ate 191,040 tons of sausages worth £667.4 million)
  • 87% of British households buy sausages
  • The Great British banger is the nation’s favorite meat‐based dinner, outselling chicken or minced beef and accounting for a staggering 864 million meals every year
  •  30% of the sausage market is classified as premium, 60% as standard, 3% as low fat and 7% as economy (Volume)
  • The average household buys Sausages 12.8 times per year, equal to one purchase per month
  • The most popular flavor of sausage is the plain Pork sausage, which accounts for 43% of sales. Irish (17%), Cumberland (13%) takes the silver and bronze positions
  • There were 864 million evening meal occasions which featured sausages.
  • The peak day for Sausages to be eaten is on a Saturday, and the Sausage Sandwich has seen a 3.7% increase in meal occasions in the 12 months to Feb 2012.
  •  The majority of Sausages are eaten during evening meals (50%), compared with 17% Teatime, 17% Breakfast and 15% Lunch
  • British shoppers are buying more branded sausages this year. Branded products have grown by 7.7% over the last 52 weeks versus 0.1% growth for retailer own label products.

Sausages today

  • There are more than 470 recipes and flavors for sausages in Britain. If you take into account all the different variations from butchers across the country you could eat a different British sausage every day for ten years
  • Northants butcher, Martin Trendall claims to have devised the worlds hottest sausage. Aptly named, The Pork Inferno, the sausages contain Indian Bhut Jolokia Chillies, Paprika and Chilli powder. Customers are advised to eat only one per meal!
  • Sausages are an excellent source of high quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for growth, maintenance and repair of body tissue. Sausages also provide significant amounts of vitamins and minerals
  • Classic Pork sausages are the nation’s favourite, with other popular varieties include Cumberland, Lincolnshire, Pork and Apple, Pork and Leek and Pork and Herb. Newer flavours gaining in popularity include Pork and Caramelised Onion and Pork and Sweet Chilli.
  • Sausage preferences vary by region. The North prefers the meat more coarsely ground, whereas the South prefers sausages to be smoother
  • Authentic Cumberland sausages are never split into links
  • The most expensive sausage ever was made from Fillet steak with Champagne and truffles and cost £20 a pack
  • Broughton‐in‐Furness pig farmer, Gary McClure, established a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Cumberland sausage ring on the day the historic market town celebrated gaining its charter on 1 August 1575. The record‐breaking sausage measured 3.3 metres in diameter, smashing the previous record of 1.5 metres, and weighed 135 kilograms. It took six and a half hours to produce – excluding the time taken to prepare the ingredients – and 90 minutes to cook.
  • Sausage machines can fill sausages at a rate of 1 1⁄2 miles an hour
  • Approximately 196,152 metric tons of sausage was consumed in the UK last year! Laid end to end this gives us enough chipolatas to:
    •  Form a wall, four sausages high, around the entire coastline of Great Britain!
    • Cover a distance from London to Perth in Australia and back twice!
    • Wrap around the London Eye, the capital’s Millennium wheel, 129 thousand times! o Add another layer, 10 sausages high, to the entire length of the Great Wall of China!

Bangers and Mash

  • Bangers and Mash is a traditional dish made of potato and sausages, the latter of which may be one of a variety of flavored sausages. The dish is usually served with a rich onion gravy
  • Bangers and mash are frequently seen in D.C. Thomson comics such as The Beano and The Dandy, usually when the protagonists of the strips are given a “slap‐up meal” as a reward for good behavior. In these comics the dish is traditionally drawn as an oversized, conical pile of mashed potato with the sausages protruding from it
  • “Bangers and Mash” is a comedy song by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren, released in 1960. In the song Sellers is a Briton who married an Italian woman (Loren) during World War II, but has never developed a taste for Italian cuisine and wishes she could prepare “the bangers and mash me mother used to make”. “Bangers and Mash” is also the seventh track by the band Radiohead on their album In Rainbows

Toad in the Hole

  • Toad in the hole is a traditional English dish comprising sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and gravy
  • The origin of the name ‘Toad‐in‐the‐Hole’ is vague. Most suggestions are that the dish’s resemblance to a toad sticking its little head out of a hole provide the dish with its somewhat unusual name Celebrity fans
  • Sausages really are the nations’ favourite food, with celebrity fans including Prince Charles, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Keith Floyd, Elvis, who loved sausage rolls, Des O’Connor and Rachel Stevens whose favourite comfort food is a sausage sandwich
  • Keith Richards loves his British sausages so much he won’t leave home without them! Wife Patti Hansen carries British sausages with her when she and the Rolling Stone travel to exotic destinations‐ because he isn’t keen on the local food.
  • Footballer John Terry and wife Toni Poole served sausages at their wedding in 2007, as did Kate Winslet. Katie Price and Peter Andre served guests bangers and mash when they married
  • Apparently legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin, was known to moonlight as a butcher making sausages from the finest meats hunted in Epping Forest
  • Queen Victoria was fond of sausages but insisted that the meat be hand chopped rather than minced

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