I was in my local butcher’s ( Walls in High Street) the other day and was buying some “thick Ludlow sausages” for Sunday breakfast, a real treat. The talk in the shop was all about the up and coming Food Festival which is unbelievably celebrating it’s 25th year. They were discussing the probability of getting a hog roast going opposite the shop, which had been very effective for them in the past. Not only in street sales, but with people then going into the shop to buy their meat. One of the reasons the Festival is so successful is that it show cases the town and it’s wonderful local produce which I can buy any day of the week, but visitors wouldn’t necessarily know about. We are always being asked where we buy our sausages. Let’s hope the visitors do use the shops and not just the castle stalls
Humans have been making sausages for thousands of years, the outcome of efficient butchery. The word itself comes from the Middle English “sausige” which in turn is from the Latin for salt, salsisium. It is obviously a way of preserving the lesser cuts of meat which are ground, blended with “filler” usually bread, and herbs and spices. The Romans are credited with bringing sausages to Britain like so much else they were meant to have introduced and since then various counties have their own way of flavouring them. Lincolnshire uses fresh sage, Cheshire caraway and coriander. Ludlow sausage makers make a variety of different flavourings, from the spicy Red Dragon in honour of the Welsh, to mushrooms and brie. They even produce Gluten free and Slimmer’s World sausages. Though me, I’d rather have a flavoursome sausage or go without. It seems as bizarre as “vegetarian sausages”. Why if you don’t want to eat meat would you want something that looks like meat?
It was in the reign of Charles I that sausages were first made into links. They used to stuff them up chimneys to be mildly cured! They are the ultimate comfort food, a plate of “bangers and mash” with onion gravy and peas. Yum. They got the name “banger” from the second World War because their high water content made them explode in the pan. They were made a sin in the early catholic church because of their association with pagan Roman festivals. So like any prohibition, sausage eating went underground until the ban was lifted. Their combination of hard exterior and soft interior plus the luscious aftertaste make sausages after all as irresistible as any forbidden fruit.
I love Toad in the Hole, that flavoursome combination of Yorkshire Pudding, crisp fried onion and sausages, as do the rest of the family. In the café we serve sausages with cauliflower cheese as a special, and always pride of place on a freshly cooked breakfast, two of our most popular dishes. Try out a “thick Ludlow” sausage by popping into Pea Green.