Pub Landlord Al Murray: "I'll take sausage any way I can get it"
WHETHER you're a lover of Lincolnshire sausages, a Cumberland connoisseur, a toad-in-the-hole taster or even a saveloy savourer – this is your week.
For British Sausage Week has again arrived. And the British Sausage Appreciation Society – with help from comedian Al Murray – is making its way around the country through the week to celebrate the noble banger.
Al turned up Wednesday at the Orange Tree pub in Shakespeare Street along with a phalanx of appreciation folk and a handful of trophies and awards. They're working their way around the country all week, doling out sausage awards by region.
For Al, who turned up in character as his comedy alter-ego the Pub Landlord, promoting sausages sounds like a labour of love.
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"I'll take sausage any way I can get it," Al said.
"Whatever one's in front of me. Love the one you're with."
The comedian, whose onstage persona is a well-known defender of all things British, spoke rapturously of a proper British food that can be served in a sandwich, with potatoes, in a plethora (or whatever the proper British word for "plethora" is) of other dishes – or as the always popular cold leftover sausage in the fridge.
"It's the all-round food," he said.
Local butchers JT Beedham and Sons of Sherwood and A Cunnington Butchers of Hucknall were among the regional finalists that also included butchers from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire.
JT Beedham was the only shop to have two sausages – the Five-a-Day Sausage and the Olympian Sausage a Hoy – on the shortlist.
The Olympian Sausage a Hoy won the "iconic sausage" category.
The sausage is named after Scottish cycling Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and, perhaps inevitably, it's filled with haggis.
"We've only just made it," said Johnny Pusztai, the butcher behind perennial award-winner Beedham.
"It's pork, it's got heart – basically everything that goes in haggis."
He was also proud of his other sausage, the five-a-day.
Each sausage contains turnips, parsnips, sweetcorn, carrots and peas.
"It's a healthy sausage for children," he said.
"It's a meal in a sausage. Just needs potatoes."
If the day all seemed like fun, games and encased meats, Al wanted to remind people that there's a serious message behind all the pork.
"British pork farmers are feeling the pinch," he said.
Weather-related poor crops has meant skyrocketing costs for feed. That in turn has meant a difficult time for many smaller and mid-sized British pork farms.
That's particularly frustrating since, according to a report commissioned by the appreciation society, Britons can't get enough sausage.
The report claims the banger is Britain's most popular dinner choice, featuring in 864 million meals a year.
That means Britons consume nearly 200,000 tonnes of sausage a year.
The plain pork sausage remains easily the most popular, accounting for 40 percent of sales. The Cumberland comes in second with 13 percent.
Learn more about British Sausage Week at britishsausageweek.com and facebook.com/lovepork.UK.
And if you feel the need to tweet pork, follow them on twitter.com/LovePork.