Sausages: On Fry Ups & Grief
This month's Intersections columnist explores how grief and love goes into sausages
I would say the hardest thing about becoming a vegetarian was giving up sausages. I’d probably eaten at least one sausage sandwich every week since the age of 13, and every single one was perfect.
My friend John was not helpful or in any way supportive of my decision. He couldn’t understand it at all. Once I went round John’s house with the intention to pick up the guitar I’d left there the night before. He had a bottle of wine, and something called lardo – cured pork back fat – and so he made us lardo sandwiches and we drank the wine and I stayed all day.
John was the kind of man who might have pig trotters in his freezer at any point. When he first got sick and his iron levels were low, he used this as an excuse to eat more offal. Lamb hearts were a favourite. He invented something called Fry Up Linguine, which was mostly black pudding, that I never got to try. My not eating meat was almost certainly taken by him as a personal betrayal.
When he died – very annoyingly the day before I was meant to go down and see him (and maybe eat the Fry Up Linguine, who knows) – nothing made sense. This is a cliché but it’s also true. I still loved him, but I couldn’t tell him anymore. I used to tell him a lot. Where do you put that? Where does that love go?
In my case, it went into breakfast. Even in the throes of grief, you still need to eat. “I’ll go to the butchers, they have award-winning sausages,” my friend Gav said. I mean, what would you do? I could deal with my alive friend mad at me, but a dead one? Absolutely not. Asking for a haunting, that.
How to describe those sausages. I don’t know. When people – people who self define as foodies and go to street-food festivals – talk about good sausages they say things like “coarse cut” and “herby”. They probably were. They were award-winning, after all. But I don’t know, it didn’t matter at the time, they were just delicious. I loved them, and then they were gone. Now what?