Despite not having lived in Britain for 14 years, there are some things that I have never really got over pining for. Some might say that they are ruled by their hearts or their heads. Personally, I’m ruled by my stomach and of all the things I wish I had easier access to in Portugal, it is the great British banger I miss the most.
Not being a big pork fan in general, my enthusiasm for English sausages is slightly idiosyncratic, and what’s more, extends to all sausage-related products. It has become family tradition, upon landing on British soil, to trot immediately to Marks & Spencer’s food hall to facilitate a piggy pig out, faster than you can say “sausage roll”.
Fortunately my husband shares my passion and unsurprisingly our kids are also big fans. I can’t recall a parental visit in living memory that hasn’t begun with the anxious enquiry: “Did you bring the sausages?” Likewise, no visit to England is complete without the customary Sainsbury’s supermarket sweep, usually the day before we fly home, in order to snag an adequate supply (always paying close attention to use by dates). As I hope is obvious, our stash is secreted within our luggage when travelling, and not on our person . If truth be told, our compulsive chipolata trafficking has been hard to keep in check. These days we try to exercise restraint, due to an unfortunate incident one year. Along with other sundry items, an epic total of 56 sausages in our suitcases tipped us into excess luggage territory – which was, well, excessive, even by our standards.
Our supplies usually see us through banger and mash season, but the summer months bring the joy of hotdogs. Sausages sizzling on the barbecue generally induce a rendition of Prefab Sprout’s 1988 hit ‘The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ for obvious reasons. The children’s appetite for the British banger, allied with their familiarity with British 80s pop leaves us satisfied that we’re fulfilling our parental obligation to provide them with a well-rounded culinary and cultural education.
I should be clear that I’m not averse to continental charcuterie: there’s a time and a place for chouriço, fuet, and the like. Just don’t try to palm me off with a Brazilian fresh sausage or a German bratwurst in lieu of a British butcher’s choice. It’s. Not. The. Same.
Our annual summer visit to the UK took place again this year, and as usual, packing for the trip mainly involved leaving space for the sausages we would bring home with us. And the tea bags – but that’s another story.