East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

Some slightly surprising things about sausages…

Lincolnshire sausages are one of the food specialities of the East Midlands. They differ from sausages produced elsewhere in being made with pork that has been coarsely ground rather than minced, and flavoured with herbs – usually sage. So distinctive are they that in 2004 a group of Lincolnshire sausage-makers, led by the Spalding firm of George Adams & Son, launched a campaign to secure Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for the Lincolnshire sausage similar to that granted recently under European Union law to Melton Mowbray pork pies. If successful, this would mean that only sausages made in the county to a particular specification (including a minimum of 70% of meat, flavoured with sage, and with natural casings) can be described and sold as ‘Lincolnshire sausages’. To keep track of the progress of this campaign, see the website of the Lincolnshire Sausage Association at http://www.lincolnshiresausages.co.uk/.

Here are a few more things you might like to know about sausages:

1. The word ‘sausage’ comes from the Latin ‘salsisium” meaning something salted. In Middle English the word became ‘sausige’.

2. It is believed that sausages were introduced to Britain by the Romans. They were commonly made of fresh pork mixed with chopped pine nuts, bay leaves, cumin seeds and black pepper.

3. 86% of sausages are made with pork.

4. Cumberland sausages are made in a continuous spiral and can be over a metre long. They are traditionally sold by length rather than weight. Pork and leek sausages are popular in Wales, with ginger sometimes added.

5. Sausages were nicknamed ‘bangers’ because of their tendency to ‘explode’ if the skins are not pierced before cooking. They were particularly prone to do this during World War II when they had a higher than usual water content due to shortages of other ingredients, but the word was in use well before that.  

6. According to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, in the year to June 2008 five million people a day in Britain ate sausages. This amounted to an annual total of 182,848 tonnes, – enough to form a wall four sausages high around the whole coastline of Britain.

7. Sausages were divided into links for the first time during the reign of Charles I. Does anyone know why?

8. A recipe for ‘sassages’ from Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire, reprinted in Northamptonshire Past & Present, Vol.2, No. 1 (1954), p28, used six pounds of pork, three ounces of salt, an ounce of pepper, fennel seeds, coriander, and the rind of two oranges.

9. No one appears to know why sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter are known as ‘toad-in-the-hole’…

10. British Sausage Week 2010 will take place from 1-7 November. See the British Sausage Appreciation Society website for some recipes from 2009 – http://www.50connect.co.uk/food_and_drink/recipes/super_sausage_recipes2. The Society has around 7,000 members in the UK.

For more surprising facts about sausages, see Sausage Links – http://www.sausagelinks.co.uk/facts_trivia.asp; and British Sausage Week – http://www.recipes4us.co.uk/British%20Sausage%20Week.htm.


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A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.