Wednesday, March 31, 2010

History of Sausages

The practice of sausage making began thousands of years ago as way of preserving meat. It was an economical way of butchering to transform scraps and less appealing cuts of meat - organs, blood, fat, off cuts - into a preserved and appetizing food. 

Sausages were mentioned as early as about 500 B.C., in a Greek comedy play titled "The Orya", or "The Sausage". Thereafter it became a popular food enjoyed by the Greeks and the Roman Empire, especially during festive occasions. The Chinese also had their own form of sausage called "lap cheong" which they have been enjoying for centuries.                                                                                                                             Pic source: Wikipedia

The modern word "sausage" is derived from from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted. In olden days, people did not have refrigeration and thus resorted to sausage making as a way to salt and cure their meats. This method proved to be a very effective and delicious way of preserving and flavouring meat.

The most basic sausage consists of meat, cut into pieces or ground, and stuffed into a casing. The casing is traditionally the intestine of the animal that has been cleaned. Typical meats used for sausage making are pork, beef and lamb, though there is no limit to what you can use. Chicken sausages and blood sausages (also known as black pudding) have also been very popular in modern times.

Today, natural intestine casings have increasingly been replaced by cellulose, collagen and plastic casings. These artificial casings are widely used in the area of industrially manufactured sausages. Sausages with artificial casings have a straight,smooth, uniform, cylindrical shape as compared to the slightly curved and sometimes ridged surfaces of sausages with natural casings.

Sausages have different types, flavours, shapes and sizes depending on the local influence. As there are many countries, each with their own discovery and usage of spices, herbs and preservation techniques, the variety of sausages all over the world are amazing. The flavour of sausages also depend on the local availability of ingredients and climate.

In some areas, the local sausage culture is so strong that the sausage became associated with the name of the area itself. For example, these England counties have their own famous sausages - Cumberland, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire. Sausages have also become part of iconic food that defined nations, such as hotdogs in the U.S. and bangers and mash in the U.K.

Sources: Wikipedia, Oscar Enterprises

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