[Sca-cooks] Sausages, now vs. then (was TV advice requested)

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Mar 21 04:20:50 PDT 2007

On Mar 21, 2007, at 2:07 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Niccolo suggesteed:
>   <<< Zabaglone is another, though way less ubiquitous.  Sausages now
> versus then? >>>
> Okay, What is different between sausages now versus then? Other than
> the fact that the smoking given to sausages these days is lighter,
> more for flavor than preservation, I'm not sure what the differences
> would be. Some meat differences, more venison sausage then, less
> turkey sausage.

By and large... more often than not... for the most part... and  
speaking generally  (with, as always, exceptions sufficient for some  
SCA person to claim otherwise based on an insufficient sample size  
and probably not sufficient to be correct), sausages in period tend  
most often to be differentiated from puddings and pretty similar to  
modern sausage.

Differences would include artificial casings sometimes used today,  
the smoking you mention, differences in chemical preservation, and  
the use of low-fat meats such as turkey. But based on the available  
recipes, I'd think that the majority of sausage recipes are pretty  
similar to modern ones: chop meat together with fat, most often from  
the same animal, most frequently pork, salt and spice or otherwise  
flavor it, stuff it into casings, eat some fresh and smoke and/or dry  
the rest, is all a pretty standard example of form following function.

As I say, there are exceptions, but in general period sausages are  
all-meat: modern bangers would probably have been considered a  
pudding in period because of their cereal content, and puddings,  
which have never really been intended to keep, have a different set  
of rules.

I suspect that there may have been somewhat less variety in period,  
wherein the rationale for making sausage would have been to make more  
pig edible and marketable for more of the year than, say, November to  
February. Moderns don't really need to think in those terms, and can  
afford to mess around with their pheasant sausages with white  
truffles and Tuscan fennel pollen.

The functional niche of needs of period people for sausage probably  
would not have included turkey sausage, but even venison sausage  
(unless you mean boar venison, but I suspect you mean deer) is  
probably less frequent than some might imagine. We have plenty of  
evidence for salt venison, but I'm not aware of any specific  
references to venison sausage. Puddings, maybe haggis, yes.


"S'ils n'ont pas de pain, vous fait-on dire, qu'ils  mangent de la  
brioche!" / "If there's no bread, you have to say, let them eat cake!"
     -- attributed to an unnamed noblewoman by Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  
"Confessions", 1782

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"
     -- Susan Sheybani, assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry  
Holt, 07/29/04

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