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197 × 120 × 17 mm
160 pages
58 illustrations, 51 in colour
01 Sep 2015

Sausage A Global History Gary Allen

• We know from murals that the ancient Egyptians made sausages from the blood of sacrificial cattle

• The word ‘sausage’ is derived from the Latin salsus, ‘salted’

• The German Currywurst is so beloved that there is a museum dedicated to it in Berlin

• The popular pizza topping pepperoni is not Italian at all, but an American invention

• Mexican green chorizo is coloured with herbs, jalapeño chillies and tomatillos

• The Chinese have made sausages since around 600 BC

includes a selection of recipes

From bangers to Bratwurst, and Cumberlands to chorizo, every country has its own special sausages. There is a veritable alphabet of sausage, from the Cajun andouille – and its less spicy forerunner, a French saucisson of the same name – all the way to the Italian zampone. As this rich and engaging history shows, people worldwide have been making sausages for thousands of years. They can be made of blood, meat, fish or cheese; have a skin or be skinless; be dried, smoked, fermented or fresh; tubular, spherical or in a patty. The history of the sausage is one of relentless creativity and invention, as different cultures found countless delectable ways to transform otherwise unappealing scraps of meat.

Gary Allen peppers his account with examples from all over the world, as well as antique posters and advertisements, artworks and cartoons; together, they build a picture of a food that has been beloved – even as it’s scoffed at – throughout human history.

‘Allen explores, region by region, and sometimes country by country, some of the broad categories and local specialties. These are slim volumes, and so far from exhaustive, but theres an impressive overview here. From the German sulzwurst (a gelatine-bound sausage containing vinegar and/or pickles) to the Lebanese makanek (glazed with pomegranate molasses), from the beef sujuk (prevalent in Islamic countries) to Kazakhstans kazy (dried, smoked sausages made with salted horseflesh and garlic) to the Thai sai krok lueat (curry-flavoured blood sausages), the reader cant help but be struck by the range of ingenuity and perhaps sometimes desperation thats been applied to humanitys most mobile meat.’ — Popmatters

‘Praise for Gary Allens previous book with Reaktion, Herbs: Allens information-packed little book will send the recipient either scurrying to the kitchen to try his unfamiliar recipes or into the garden to plant up some of the exotica he describes . . . definitely a book I am glad to have on my shelves.’ — Herbs magazine

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Gary Allen is an Adjunct Professor at Empire State College (part of the State University of New York). His books include The Herbalist in the Kitchen (2007), Herbs: A Global History (2012) and Sausage: A Global History (2015), both from Reaktion.


1. What is Sausage, and Where did it Originate?

2. Some Historical Sausages and the Links Between Them

3. Sausages of Europe

4. Sausages from Everywhere Else

5. Technology and the Modern Sausage

6. Sausage: Theme and Variations



Appendix: A Selection of Regional Sausages


Select Bibliography

Websites and Associations


Photo Acknowledgements