Help support an icon of Englishness and check out our Kickstarter campaign to publish the English Breakfast Handbook, the definitive guide to the English breakfast.Learn More
Great Britain is definitely what you would call a sausage eating country, with more than 400 different kinds of sausage, the British consume millions of sausages every day and we even raise special kinds of pigs to produce the right kind of pork.
When not eating an English breakfast, the British love to eat sausages in lots of different ways, some of the most famous being bangers & mash, battered sausage (sold in fish and chip shops) and sausage rolls (sold in bakers everywhere).
British sausages are also known as bangers and forever immortalized in the dish known as 'Bangers & Mash.
The actual history on why British sausages are sometimes called bangers is hazy, nobody is quite sure.
Some people think that British sausages are called bangers because of the habit they have of exploding whilst cooking (due to the shrinkage of the tight skin) and this is still quite a common occurrence depending on the sausage.
Historically the term 'bangers' was in use as far back as 1919, but British sausages started to be more widely called bangers during World War Two, when meat rations were scarce and sausages had to be made with more water and filler added to the mix, making them more likely to explode when cooked, unless you pricked their skin beforehand.
Nobody really calls them bangers anymore, unless they are being served with mash and these days the term bangers appears to be confined to that dish, you simply would not ask for three bangers on your breakfast or a banger sandwich and British people do not really call them bangers at all, no matter how many Americans believe that we do.
As with most other kinds of sausage, British sausages are traditionally made of pork and different herbs and spices, mixed according to ancient recipes, passed down through the ages. Traditional sausage recipes are still a closely guarded secret and it is these recipes which give the British such a huge variety of sausages to choose from.
Some of the most famous kinds of British sausage are specific to a region and Great Britain has a number of historic sausage producing regions, such as Cumberland, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Glamorgan.
Perhaps the most famous of British sausages is the Cumberland sausage, which has been a local speciality in the County of Cumberland for more than 500 years. The Cumberland sausage has a distinct taste because of the meat being chopped rather than minced, which gives the sausage a lovely meaty texture.
The Cumberland sausage is such a treasure of the British sausage producing industry that the traditional Cumberland sausage was granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2011, helping protect its heritage.
Lincolnshire is another historic sausage producing region of Great Britain, the Lincolnshire sausage is dominated by sage and because the meat is coarsely ground rather than minced, it produces a lovely chunky texture. Every year the city of Lincoln (in Lincolnshire) holds a competition to see who can make the best Lincolnshire sausage.
There are lots of other and less well known British regions which have historically produced sausages and the English breakfast connoisseur can take this as an opportunity to inject variety into the traditional full English breakfast.
If you are bored of the usual Cumberland and Lincolnshire pork sausages in your breakfast, why not try a Manchester sausage with its wonderful nutmeg and ginger taste, or perhaps an Oxford sausage containing lemon pork and veal, a slightly more refined sausage experience and firm favourite of the dining halls at Oxford University.
If you want to visit Hertford, you should try the Marlybone sausage, a traditional Hertford butchers sausage, flavoured with mace and ginger, but if you happen to be a vegetarian or you just really want to visit Wales, why not try the Glamorgan sausage, a traditional Welsh vegetarian sausage, made of cheese, leeks and bread crumbs.
The artisanal production of British sausages is a centuries old tradition and various sausage producing regions of Great Britain (such as Lincolnshire) are seeking European Protected designation of origin (PDO) for their sausages so that they can be made only in the specific region and must be made to a specific quality and recipe.
Just because the historic regions producing these sausages has protected them under law, that just means that you cannot make them and create a business to selling them and you can make these wonderful sausages at home for your family.
You can find professional courses online which are designed to teach you the art of artisanal sausage making, the Slow Food movement in the UK has a course tailored towards the aspiring sausage maker. If you dig around online, there are some great websites full of sausage making recipes, advice and tips.
We hoped you enjoyed our article on the history of the traditional English breakfast, if you did, please show your support for the tradition by sharing this article with your friends using the buttons below !
Author : Guise Bule