Lady Justicee

 

In the flurry of reports of the findings of a meta-study in the British Journal of Cancer a few of the journalists got it right. However, what sticks out is one from a better British paper who did not do their homework. No-one is going to get names here, but they did an equal job of botching reviews of TV food programmes last week. Somehow they had come up with the “fact” that 1 sausage is equal to 2 rashers of bacon and has a higher risk than red meat. This hack had grouped sausages together as processed meat rather than as red meat.

One aspect of the study was that there was a theoretical risk from nitrites which are used in cures for preserving meats such as bacon or salami. Again, this was a theoretical risk taken from studies of lab animals and there has never been a real life correlation. As we make both sausages and charcuterie, we know our ingredients very well. There are no nitrites in fresh sausages which goes for the vast majority of sausages sold in the UK.

So where did the equivalence  of sausages to bacon come in and when did they get grouped into “processed meats”. Most sausages contain only about 5 ingredients; meat, rusk/crumb, water, flavour and the skin. In all quality sausages these ingredients will be natural. The flavours will be real such as pieces of apple or sage. This is not processed meat just in the same way that a good burger is not processed.

Most of us know the risks of red meat consumption, but it’s useful if journalists write with accuracy on the science. The research paper is available free and the findings do not group sausages into processed meat except for one study. In this paper the researchers put ham and sausages together as a single meat group, but only covered 222 patients.  The overall findings of the metastudy is that an increase in consumption by 50g per day increase the risk factor for processed meats and 120g per day for red meat.

So why Lady Justice above? The sword for justice, the blindfold for objectivity and the scales of evidence. In this case someone failed to do justice of the evidence and produced twaddle which was not objective. This means that a proportion of the UK population will now see sausages as a higher risk because of poor journalism in their preferred daily paper.

 

British Summer Caldo Verde (c) Girl Interrupted Eating 2011

 

Serves 2

100g of Staffordshire Fine Foods Dry Chorizo
1.5 pints of chicken stock (chicken stock out of the freezer )
1 large onion finely sliced
1 bulb of wet garlic finely chopped ( ro two cloves of regular garlic)
1 large potato roughly chopped
2 large bunches of spring greens leaves removed from stems and roughly chopped
2 handfuls of broad beans removed from the pods but not shelled
1/2 a fresh lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Simmer the chorizo in a large chunk in the chicken stock with the onions , garlic & potatoes for an hour at least ( I used my slow cooker on low for a few hours)
  2. Remove the chorizo and cut into chunks , return to the pan and turn up the heat to a medium simmer add the spring greens and broad beans
  3. Simmer for ten minutes serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and ground black pepper.

 

Recipe kindly written by : Girl Interrupted Eating

 

Officially this was an ordinary hot sausage sold by the United Nations Development Office in Sweden. The asking price? $130. The most expensive luxury sausage was £20, more of a fair game we we think. This was made in the UK and contained champagne and truffle amongst the ingredients. If you get the regular six sausages to a pound, that’s £120 per pack.

The key would be to make a sausage from luxury ingredients and to make them all sing together as a creation of worth. Expensive sandwiches have been made using sour dough bread, truffles, foie gras and kobe beef. Would flavours get lost or overwhelm even?

Another challenge is to get this done with local ingredients or even from what we would have commonly had to hand in times gone by. Imagine the Victorian Era, before two World Wars ravaged British food. At that time we had a great period of decadence and some very fine ingredients. With modern access to such fantastic ingredients, the options are fairly unlimited.

The Worlds most luxurious sausage or sausage range … watch this space :)

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