Britain and the EU are rowing over the transport of sausages from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. These are deep waters, says Elisabeth Luard
Sausages - British, Irish, French - are no laughing matter. It's not the first time politicians have misread the power of sausage. In 1991, the year when the Soviet Union crumbled, Mikhail Gorbachev addressed a crowd in Lithuania, where the natives were growing restless.
His intention was to defuse the situation with a joke.
'And shall our great Union be broken up because of sausage?'
The answer was a resounding "Yes!"
The Union could indeed be broken up, not for bread or even potatoes and not just any old hank of stuffed intestine, but for the Lithuanian version of a universal foodstuff. There are some 3,000 varieties of sausage throughout the world, each one different, each a matter of national honour, each recipe defended to the death. Including the many versions available to our island nation.
From my Oldie column, April 2016: my Hannah Glasse’s Oxford Sausages
Lemon zest, sage, thyme and marjoram flavour Mrs. Glasse’s elegant 18th century recipe for skinless sausages fried in butter. Prepared with equal amounts of fat pork, lean veal and beef-suet, she includes a generous proportion of breadcrumbs. I’ve halved her given quantity of suet to suit our fat-averse modern palates, though you must do as you please.
Serves 4 as part of a breakfast fry-up
250g fat pork (shoulder or belly)
250g lean veal (chicken is a possible substitute)
125g fresh beef-suet (the fat from around the kidneys)
250g grated dried-out bread
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 finely-chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
1 teaspoon crumbled dried marjoram
1 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Flour for dusting
Butter for frying
Chop or mince the meat and suet finely together: degree of coarseness or smoothness depends on you. Work in the remaining ingredients till well-blended. Dampen your hands in a bowl of warm water to stop the mixture sticking to your fingers, form into sausage-shaped finger-length patties, dust through a little flour and fry in butter till deliciously browned all over. Make double quantities and freeze the overs.