Imagine you were to do a culinary tour of the world, sampling the different foods available everywhere you went.
Every different country and culture has a different cuisine, which in turn uses a large variety of products.
While there are, of course, many differences between different cultures’ foods, one food, in particular, can be found almost anywhere, in a variety of different shapes, fillings, sizes, and even lengths!
Today we’re going to talk about sausages, in all their forms, ranging from the best to the wurst!
Sausages have many different names around the world!
It would be impossible to name them all here, so instead, let’s look at some of the more unique ones!
First, on the list, we have the merguez sausage, which comes from the north of Africa.
The merguez is a very long, thin sausage typically made from beef, lamb, or a mixture of the two and a range of spices, including paprika, sumac, harissa, and Cayenne pepper.
Next, we have boerewors from South Africa, which can be made of game animals or beef mixed with lamb or pork.
The meat filling is ground much more coarsely than your average sausage and is commonly mixed with coriander and vinegar and then shaped into a long, spiral shape.
The kamaboko from Japan is technically classified as a sausage, although it’s not made from pork, beef, lamb, or any other animal.
Instead, it’s made from a fish paste that has been cured and then ground, shaped into a half-moon, and then left to dry.
The following deserve their own full description, but for now, we’ll simply list them: droë wors, hóng cháng, lap cheong, sundae, chorizo, longaniza, sai ua, naem, sucuk, banger, snag, chipolata, black pudding, lukanka, kulen, nakki, ryynimakkara, saucisson, frankfurter, kolbász, salsiccia, rookworst, falukorv, Butifarras Soledeñas, salami, and oh, so many more!
Sausages have been around for more than 5,000 years!
And that’s just from our recorded history!
The first sausages that made their way into written records were from a region of the world Mesopotamia, which nowadays covers the countries of Kuwait, Iraq, and parts of Saudi Arabia.
According to the records available to us today, the first culture to create the world’s favorite dish was the Sumerians, with the records going all the way back to 3100 BC!
Sausages were invented as a way to preserve meat.
These days it’s easy. You can go to a supermarket, pick up a fresh pack of meat, bring it home, and whack it in the fridge.
If you don’t feel like using it straight away, you can pop it in the freezer and save it for another day, week, or even month, all without a thought!
Things weren’t always that simple, though.
One of the original ways of preserving meat was to salt it, which is to cure it in a large container of salt.
This method would preserve the meat, allowing it to last throughout a season if looked after properly.
At some point in time, the Sumerians, or possibly an earlier culture, figured out that if you stuffed all your excess meat into some intestines and then salted it, it could last even longer, making it even tastier!
The world largest Cumberland sausage ring weighed nearly 300 pounds!
For those of you who like things metric, that’s an incredible 135 kg!
The record was achieved by a pig farmer called Gary McClure from the town of Broughton-in-Furness, a small town in the region of Cumbria, UK.
The Cumberland sausage ring that held the previous record was an already impressive 5 feet (1.5m) in diameter, but McClure wanted to really smash the record.
The sausage ring that McClure crafted ended up being much, much bigger, though, with a diameter of nearly 10 feet (3.3m)!
Crafting a sausage of such size was no small feat, either.
It took McClure more than six hours to build it and a further 90 minutes to cook it, and that’s not including the time to grind all the meat!
The world’s first “vegetarian” sausage wasn’t actually meat-free!
Let’s take a trip back to 1918, to the time of the First World War.
Food was in high demand, and supplies worldwide were becoming more and more scarce.
A German Chancellor by the name of Konrad Adenauer sought to solve the shortage of meat with a sausage that had never been seen before – a soya sausage!
This sausage was unlike any before because it was made primarily from high-protein soy flour.
This sausage did actually still have some meat in it, but it was only enough to give the taste of a “real” sausage.
Since then, food has come a long way, and it’s been possible for a while now to get a vegetarian sausage that’s actually vegetarian.
These sausages are made up of different vegetables and spices and then commonly encased in a special plant-based casing.
There are more than 500 different recipes for sausages in the UK.
If you think you like sausages, wait ‘til you meet your average Brit!
Sausages have been a staple part of the British diet for thousands of years, ever since the Romans invaded and brought them along as a stable food source.
Since then, the Brits have managed to experiment with an almost endless amount of combinations to find the perfect sausage.
While many will argue that their sausage is indeed the best, you’ll find a man in the next village over claiming the same!
The result is more than 500 different recipes that could suit almost anyone!
The only real way to try them all would be to have a proper sausage party.
Sausages play a key role in Australian politics.
Your average Australian absolutely loves a good sausage sizzle, which involves a stall being set up where you can buy a freshly barbecued sausage on a piece of white bread with your choice of condiments for the low price of a couple of bucks.
You’ll find sausage sizzles being held all over the country, with the proceeds usually going to various local charities, school sports fundraisers, and so on.
There’s one particular type of sausage that has a special reverence above all others.
It’s called the Democracy Sausage, and it just happened to be the Australian Word of the Year in 2016.
As your average Australian loves a good snag (sausage), some bright spark figured out that fundraising in front of polling booths for state and federal elections would be a smashing success, and what better way to raise funds than with a sausage sizzle?
And so, just like that, the Democracy Sausage was born.
Sausages are great. I think we can all agree on that.
It doesn’t matter whether you eat beef, pork, lamb, or no meat at all; there’s a sausage for you!
They’ve been around for over 5,000 years now, and I can’t see a single reason for them to ever go out of fashion!
As a final note, if you’re truly a fan of sausages, make sure to get out the grill for International Sausage Day on October 21st.