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The St Albans Sausage?

Posted on: 4th March 2015 By: Sue Davies

The image above is of a sausage making machine in St Albans Museum Service’s collection (1988.3736).   It was donated by a Mrs Peacock.  Seeing this made me wonder if there was a St Albans sausage.  There are plenty of regional sausages in Britain some of which have become well know, for instance, the long swirl of a Cumberland and the herby Lincolnshire.    I have been searching through books and manuscripts to find a recipe for a local sausage.  The closest I have got (so far) are several Roman recipes. There is archaeological evidence to suggest that sausages were made in Verulamium, the Roman town of St Albans. This is hardly surprising, lots of cultures developed sausages.  It was a way of using up the whole animal and preserving meat in a time when stocking up for winter really mattered.

The recipe below comes from “The Roman Cookery Book.  A Critical Translation of the Art of Cooking by Apicus” by Barbara Flower and Elisabeth Rosenbaum.   It includes “liquamen” a fermented fish sauce which the Ancient Romans used to flavour almost everything.   Good replacements for this pungent sauce are the Thai nam pla or the Italian colatura di alici, or failing either, a mashed up anchovy.

"Clean whole spelt grains and boil with liquamen and the finely chopped white part of a leek. When cooked drain the grains.  Chop suet and sliced meat and mix together.  Pound pepper, lovage, and three eggs; mix all of this in the mortar with pine kernels and peppercorns.  Pour in liquamen.  Stuff sausage skins, boil and grill lightly, or simply boil."

If you can help me to find a more recent local recipe please let me know and let us see if we can get it produced!  You can email me directly by clicking on my name above.