British Sausage Week (2 to 8 Nov)

Sausage WeekThis week is British Sausage Week

The highlight of this year’s British Sausage Week is the Hunt for Britain’s Magical Bangers, a competition which will award regional sausages worthy of the accolade a place on the official British Sausage Week Map.

The British Sausage Appreciation Society will be travelling up and down the country throughout British Sausage Week, with Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee in tow finding and awarding Britain’s Magical Bangers.  Regional winners will receive a much sort after Banger Award and a donation to a charity of their choice.

To celebrate British Sausage Week, independent butchers across the country will also be running events and creating mouth-watering bangers for customers to sample.  There are also likely to be unmissable offers on sausages in supermarkets, whilst pubs and restaurants will be joining in the festivities by offering special sausage meals on their menu. For those of you that prefer to spend the week at home, the British Sausage Appreciation Society have rustled up some exclusive recipes, showcasing the best of the regions sausage dishes, for you to try out! Check out for a bit of inspiration!

To find out about events near you, visit

What’s 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 flavour. 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 7,000 members in the UK. The Highlight of the Society’s year is British Sausage Week which this year takes place from the 3rd to 9th November 2008

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 flavouring their local sausage – e.g. Lincolnshire favours 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
  • While the convenient ease of cooking and the range of flavours from the traditional to the ethnic mean that Britons just can’t get enough
  • During the year to June 2008 we ate 182,848 tonnes of sausages worth £560 million
  • The value of the premium sausage sector grew by almost 10% in 2007 / 2008
  • 90% of British households buy sausages, 50% at least every four weeks
  • Each household spends an average of £22.51 per year on sausages
  • Every day, five million Britons will eat sausages
  • More pork sausages are eaten as part of an evening meal, with 46% consumed; compared to 16% at breakfast, 18% at lunch, and 2% as a snack
  • 97% of sausages are consumed in the home
  • 31% of the sausage market is classified as premium, 57% as standard, 5% as low fat and 7% as economy
  • 86% of sausages are made from pork

Sausages today …

  • There are more than 470 recipes and flavours 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
  • 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
  • Pork sausages are the nation’s favourite, with the runner up being beef. Other popular varieties include pork and herb, Cumberland, pork and apple, pork and leek and pork and stilton
  • Chips are the most common accompaniment, followed by eggs and beans and mashed potato
  • 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
  • The World’s longest sausage was made during British Sausage Week 2000 and weighed 15.5 tonnes and was 35 miles long!
  • Sausage machines can fill sausages at a rate of 1 ½ miles an hour
  • Approximately 182,848 metric tonnes of sausage were 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!
    • 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 flavoured 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 behaviour. 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 cusine 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
  • 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

Regional variations…

  • Cumberland Sausages – This is considered to be the meatiest British sausage. It is a chunky, course cut sausage spiced with black pepper and made in a continuous spiral. It is traditionally sold by length rather than weight. Looks very impressive when coiled in a spiral and cooked whole
  • Gloucester – Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot (a rare breed) and flavoured with sage. Increasingly available from local specialists
  • Yorkshire – White pepper, mace, nutmeg and cayenne are the predominant flavours in the Yorkshire sausage
  • Lincolnshire – Old fashioned herby regional sausage traditionally made with pork, bread and sage (although thyme seems to be creeping in)
  • Lorne – Bit of an oddity, this is Scottish square slicing sausage. It is made with beef and pork, has a smooth texture and is probably destined for either the breakfast table or eaten in a sandwich with white sliced bread and brown sauce
  • Marylebone – A traditional London butchers sausage made with mace, ginger and sage
  • Oxford – A regional sausage made with pork, veal and lemon. Herbs are usually sage, savory and marjoram
  • Pork & apple (West Country) – Pork with apple and often cider or scrumpy, generally makes a moist sausage. Sage is often used, they are available nationally but very popular in the West Country. Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot which where reared in orchards and would have eaten the windfall apples
  • Pork & leek (Welsh) – Attractive green flecked sausages, popular in Wales where ginger is sometimes added, pork and chive also works well
  • Manchester – A pork sausage, flavoured with white pepper, mace, nutmeg, ginger, sage and cloves
  • Suffolk – A course chopped sausage with herbs, similar to Lincolnshire
  • Tomato – Pork and tomato, typical 10% tomato gives a distinctive red colour, they are popular in the Midlands. Can be combined with basil and sun dried tomatoes for the ‘Mediterranean’ taste