Harland: Sausages, anyone?

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Monday, February 24, 2014


I LOVE sausages. These days, sausage-lovers in Bacolod are spoilt for choice. Not so long ago it was hard to find a decent sausage, but now the range is vast and these meaty delights are readily available throughout the city.

Go to a bar like Aribu in Bacolod's Art District and you'll see a wide array of sausages including keilbasa, Thüringer, bratwurst, Hungarian, European weiners and Italian.

But alas, lovers of British sausages – or ‘bangers,’ as the Brits call them – are not so lucky. Despite numerous requests, no one is making these British delicacies here.

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Sausages are not the healthiest of foods given their high fat content, but they are delicious. And, as the saying goes, moderation in everything, including moderation.

The sausage is the oldest form of processed meat – you could say it was the world’s first convenience food. Historians believe sausages have been around for as long as man has had domesticated animals.

Pigs, which then as now were the main source of most sausages, were domesticated about 5,000 B.C. in Egypt and China and the first sausages were probably made by herders cutting up scraps of meat and sealing them in the intestines of slaughtered animals.

The earliest mention of sausages is in Homer’s The Odyssey from around 850 B.C., while the Chinese wall paintings of the Han dynasty circa 200 B.C. also show them.

The word ‘sausage’ is derived from the Latin ‘salsus’ meaning “salted” or “preserved,” and I thought the Romans introduced the technique to northern Europe.

By the Middle Ages sausages were to be found in virtually every region of the European continent.

Despite the vast choice shoppers have these days for sausages, some consumers are wary of their high fat content plus some uncertainty as to exactly what bits and pieces and preservatives manufacturers put into their products.

Thus many sausage-lovers are making their own. As an Englishman, who likes the traditional British ‘banger,’ I started making my own when I could not convince any local sausage makers to produce a few. I found that sausage-making is not difficult, especially if your food mixer has a stuffer attachment.

The British really do love their sausages. There’s even a British Sausage Appreciation Society designed to raise awareness of delicious tasting quality sausages.

And every November, there’s a British Sausage Week which celebrates the great British Banger and promotes the wide range of sausages currently available in the country.

Highlight of that week is the annual ‘Legendary British Bangers’ competition, which aims to find the country’s most sensational sausages from all areas of the industry, including butchers and supermarkets to pubs and cafés.

If you fancy making some English bangers, try this simple recipe.

500 g of pork shoulder
200 g of pork fat
1 tsp of each of salt and white pepper
about 40 g of fresh breadcrumbs
2 egg yolks
A good pinch of nutmeg, cloves and thyme
Sausage skins

Mince the pork and fat (use the finest cutter that you have) then mix together with the breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings. Fry a teaspoon of the mixture, and test for flavor. Add more seasoning if necessary. Stuff the sausage casings, twist into small sausages and pop them in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Bon Appétit!

Robert Harland
What's cooking

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 24, 2014.

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