There has been much talk in the news lately of the fall in popularity of the Great British sausage, apparently, as a nation, we are turning our backs on a banger in favour of healthier options.
This news was met with upset, verging on grief, by Reg, a man obsessed with this particular food. I don’t think I’ve seen him this distressed since losing the title for his Cumberland Ring, a few years back.
My own view on the demise of the sausage is the fact that we are more aware of their contents and the effect on our already clogged arteries, but Reg has other opinions, in fact he blames this particular national issue on one man.
‘It’s that Micky the meat from the market, I knew he would wreak havoc on the butchers’ trade.’
Margaret made a brave attempt at defending her husband’s sworn enemy by reminding him that Micky only worked in one small part of the country.
‘It’s not the area he works in Margaret, it’s the mindset, spreads like wildfire, look at Hitler.’
‘Now Reg, I don’t think you can compare Micky the meat to…’
She had no time to finish her sentence as Reg began to list the ingredients he believed Micky commonly used.
‘Four parts rusk to one part lard, if there’s any meat in there I’d like to see it, of course you may get the odd woodworm for protein, did I tell you Margaret, he bulks out the rusk with saw dust’.
Margaret had indeed heard this tale many times before, as had I, although it still turns my stomach slightly and I was glad I had opted for fish that evening.
Reg managed to be diverted by Tom who was back from the supermarket and was touting a deal on some scourers that he’d got on a buy one get one free offer, however the subject was raised again that evening at the pub.
Bolstered by two pints of cider and black Reg was back to his favourite subject, Margaret had stayed in to watch Celebrity Masterchef so it was Tom and Garth who took the full brunt of his tirade. As Reg was buying the drinks Tom agreed with everything he said, nodding and smiling in all the right places, Garth on the other hand was willing to make a challenge.
‘If you are so convinced your sausages are better than Micky’s, why don’t you take part in a blind taste test?’
‘Ok I will’, came the immediate reply and the plan was hatched. Baz was forthcoming in offering the pub as a venue and it was left to Garth to make contact with Micky, as he and Reg were no longer on speaking terms.
Baz is very good at advertising any events he holds at the pub and the ‘Sosij Taste Test’ was organized for Wednesday evening. I nearly had to refuse to attend due to his butchering of the English language, however I secretly looked forward to Reg being made to eat his words, so I turned a blind eye.
On the day, Micky’s supporters were wondering around the street wearing sweatshirts with the slogan ‘Micky the Meat’ on the back of them, a worried looking Reg persuaded Margaret to get out her sewing box and embroider ‘No Veg Reg’ onto his jumper, things were getting serious.
Both contestants brought their sausages to the two gas fires that Baz had set up in the garden of the pub, the rules had been clear, pork only, no embellishments other than the normal ingredients. I was a tad concerned about the woodworm issue in Micky’s recipe, but as it was a blind taste test there was little I could do. Margaret had refused to try the sausages, she was far too concerned that she may not choose those made by Reg, no one else held back though and the pub was more packed than usual, Baz was beaming.
By 8.30 the sausages had been cooked and eaten and there was a palpable air of competition in the pub, I think I had a taste of what it was like to be at the Sharks and Jets altercation in West Side Story, I was only grateful that no one could sing.
It was left to Shirl to announce the winner, thankfully as she opened her mouth to make the pronouncement the vicar's dog Joe felt it was an opportune time to make a move on the leftover sausages. The noise of Shane the vicar, and several other punters, shouting at the dog to drop the tasty pork treats drowned out the words that Margaret had been dreading,
‘And the winner is, Micky the meat’.
As he lifted the gold coloured plastic cup I swear I saw a small tear appear in Reg’s eye, although he did manage to shake Micky’s hand.
I saw Margaret and Reg skulk towards the door and then the winner spoke those immortal words, ‘the drinks are on me’. In a U-turn quicker than any politician could manage Reg headed towards the bar, where he ordered a triple whisky for himself and a brandy and Babycham ‘for my Margaret’, as he said, ’No point ruining the whole evening’.