Back in 2000, amidst the Foot and Mouth crisis that hit hard in Cumbria we; local butchers, famers market producers, and farm shops, were facing increased pressures to downgrade and cheapen our regional sausages, to compete with “Cumberland Sausages” made elsewhere, or to make a stand and apply to the EU for a PGI – Product Geographical Indication. Or to be precise, by EU and UK law, a regionally protected food product.
Now to get the potential 180 possible makers in Cumbria to talk, never mind agree parameters of a recipe, ! well to say the least, was to prove difficult. 10 YEARS later we had only around 45 contenders, and with a minimum 80% Pork Meat content we achieved our goal. However it HAD to have a prefix, “Traditional Cumberland Sausage” not cumberland sausages, as feared competition and Legal redress from the mass producers had to be avoided, or our application would fail.
2010 was the year. The UK’s 44th protected food product.
So when a friend told me his Grandad, a Butcher in Stoke, made and sold a Cambridge Sausage and the recipe after he died lay secret in his Dad’s safe – I suggested I could find something similar from that period. It was the practice, back then, for Butchers to make not just their local sausage, but something “up market” by way of indication or aspiration. (Oxford Sausages will follow!)
I came across these far famed recipes in Tom Finney’s 1910 Edition. -Handy Guide to Pork Butchers. Initially years ago I ignored a lot of the content as it just didn’t make sense it was, after all, meant for Butchers 100 years ago. Printed words:
Pab. Bismark Brown. Bergice. Nuyo. Saupolon. Saster. Alum. Salts of Tartare. Pearl Ash. Sno-wyte. and finally Ultra marine Blue.
To me these could have well been some Naval reference or Pirate talk!
But as we had strived to make our sausages fresh and wholesome, suddenly the penny dropped!
Back then, with no refrigeration, no Msg, no modern chemical concoctions, sausages HAD to be good. Made fresh and eaten within a short period of time. We made our first batch back in November 2020, and sent some to my friend. We continued to tweak, now we finally have “The Far Famed Cambridge sausage” and more “Retro Sausages” will follow!
Could it be in the Masked Singer, a regional sausage come back! Miss London (Stacey Solomon) Miss Lincolnshire (Sheridan Smith), Miss Kent (Joss Stone), Miss Hereford (Ellie Goulding), Will find a Retro sausage to suit!
– comments please !