British Sausage Week: The Great British Banger

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th October 2014
 

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Bisto logo             British Sausage Week is an annual celebration of the taste, quality and diversity of the traditional British Banger. From sausage dishes around the world to the quality of British sausage meat, we have lots to shout about – but how do you like your sausage? Bangers and mash image credit BBC Good Food (Great British banger piece)It’s no secret that we Brits are lovers of tradition, and if it shows anywhere, it’s in our food. From cottage pie to fish and chips, there are so many dishes that we habitually enjoy. In its own special place among these national treasures sits the sausage – or, as it is widely and affectionately known, the banger. Though many enjoy it, few know how it earned its seemingly nonsensical name, and fewer still know where it came from in the first place. What better time to delve into the history of this cultural icon than British Sausage Week? To start at the beginning, it has been theorised that the sausage was born some 5000 years ago, when the Sumerians (from Sumer, an ancient civilisation in Mesopotamia, now what we know as modern Iraq) experimented with stuffing meat into goat stomachs. However, it is believed that it didn’t reach our shores until the Romans introduced it to Britain around 400 A.D. The sausage’s prevalence in Britain continued to grow after the fall of the Roman Empire. The majority of the medieval population was poor, and fresh meat a distant dream. What little meat they could acquire was cured with a heavy dose of salt so that it would last for as long as possible. Similarly, sailors stored and ate salted meats on their ships as they stayed edible for the duration of long voyages. Such preserved meats commonly took the convenient form of portion-sized sausages. Meanwhile, wealthy households served fresh sausages as part of their indulgent banquets, which tended to include all the varieties of meat that the cooks could rustle up. From then, the presence of the sausage at dinner tables only grew, though in Britain the fresh sausage eclipsed that which was heavily salted and dried. Butchers were giving life to their own regional sausages as early as the 1500s, and by the 19th century pork sausages were being mass-produced in Britain. However, meat was once again scarce following the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Sausageshistomil.com were rationed, and the Ministry of Food’s law was that they could consist of as little as 10% meat. It was for this reason that sausages surged further into popularity; a fair number could be created with precious little meat. Producers pumped a low-quality filler of cereal, scraps and, famously, water into their sausages in order to keep their meat content low, but this had a surprising result. Upon being cooked, the extreme heat would cause the water to boil and the sausages to hiss. That wasn’t the extent of it – if sausages weren’t properly pricked before cooking, they were likely to explode. This happened so frequently that soldiers, whilst cooking over trench fires, nicknamed them “bangers”. As can be seen from the prevailing popularity of bangers and mash, the nickname has stuck firmly, and so has Britain’s love of the banger. During the twelve months following June 2010, Britain consumed 191,040 tonnes of sausages, an amount worth £667.4 million. Though there can be no single definitive reason behind this fondness, it is likely that for many a sense of nostalgia is at its heart. Bangers – whether they are wrapped in bacon and doused in gravy, chopped into a casserole or sliced and served in a sandwich – are a family staple. As such, they feature in many warm childhood memories, from home-cooked dinners and breakfasts to barbecues and birthday parties. As well as conjuring memories, bangers also conjure pride. Each country’s variation of sausage is unique to its nation, and ours is no different. Research has also suggested that it is the contrasting textures of the snap of skin and the squash of soft meat that makes eating sausages so enjoyable. Whatever the reason, the Great British Banger is a beloved part of our culture, and that is unlikely to change for some time. By Julia Watts To celebrate British Sausage Week, running 3rd - 9th of November, Bisto is launching a competition that will give chefs the opportunity to win £500 worth of high street vouchers and a full set of professional kitchen knives. To be in with a chance of winning these exciting prizes, simply download our brand new online recipe guide, which showcases the versatility of Bisto and the traditional British banger simply click the link for more details http://ow.ly/CTXG5

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th October 2014

British Sausage Week: The Great British Banger