Otto von Bismarck

“Laws are like sausages in that you should never see them being made.” This quote has long been attributed to Otto Von Bismarck but was actually said by one John Godfrey Saxe in 1869. (What did we ever do before the Internet?)

Regardless of who said what, sausages are one of my favorite foods. We recently went to Burdick’s, a great restaurant in Walpole, NH (said, a tad snidely by some, to be the only good restaurant in the entire state), where my husband had an entrée of pancetta and rabbit sausage that was a ten.

L.A. Burdkci's Restaurant-- next door to its equally wonderful chocolate shop


Vaguely French, it was both soothing and slightly spicy and entirely delicious. However you slice it, sausage involves taking bits and pieces, grinding them together, adding spices and stuffing the whole thing into some form of casing, originally the cleaned intestines of an animal. Homer mentions a kind of sausage so we know the dish has  been around for a long time. Sausage can be cooked, smoked, dried or fresh and there are types particular to almost every country in the world. Slim Jims, beef jerky and hot dogs all count in the sausage lineup.

Sausage can be made from game, poultry, beef, pork, lamb or just vegetables, usually by combining several ingredients. Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, is  basically a sausage and always served at a Robert Burns’ supper in homage to Burns’ poem, ‘Address to a Haggis.’  that he wrote in 1787.

Robert Burns

Haggis contains various sheep’s organs chopped very fine and mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and stock, classically encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for hours. It’s traditionally served with ‘neaps and tatties’, i.e., mashed turnips and potatoes, as well as a ‘dram’ of Scotch whiskey. If anyone out there knows where I could taste it, please let me know.  I bet the idea of haggis makes many people gag but I’d like to sample it.

Making sausage is a task I leave to the professionals but cooking and serving it is quite a different thing. This recipe is courtesy of a Vermont neighbor who got it from Bon Appetit.

Bon Appetit featuring the smokey shrimp-and-sausage combo

Smokey Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers

Serves 6

¾ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 Tbls chopped fresh thyme

5 tsp smoked paprika (don’t substitute regular paprika-this makes a big difference)

4 tsp Sherry wine vinegar


½ tsp pepper

½ tsp dried, crushed red pepper (use flakes)

12 raw shrimp peeled and deveined

12 ½ inch pieces andouille or other cooked, smoked sausage

12 cherry tomatoes

12  2 inch sections of red onion wedges

Vegetable oil spray


Whisk oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, vinegar, salt, black and red pepper in med. Bowl. Transfer half of this “glaze” to another small bowl.

Alternately thread skewers with shrimp, sausage, tomato, onion in that order. (You can do everything up to this point well ahead. Cover and chill in the fridge until you are ready to move forward.)

Coat the grill rack with non-stick spray. Use medum high heat. Brush skewers with glaze. Grill until shrimp are opaque in the center, about 6-8 minutes brushing often with glaze.

Cook’s note: this can be made in the broiler as well. If cooking on an outdoor grill, it’s a good idea to use a small mesh grid underneath as the onions tend to slip off the skewers and the grid will catch them.

Bon Appetit!








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6 Responses to Sausage

  1. dottie urbach says:

    thank you so much for sending me this — however, i am less than unlikely to be making it anytime soon — sausages are just not my thing — but historically, it is very interesting

    dottie and ms mollie

  2. dottie urbach says:

    thank you so much for sending me this — however, i am less than unlikely to be making it anytime soon — sausages are just not my thing — but historically, it is very interesting

    dottie and ms mollie

  3. Carolyn Miggins says:

    I never met a sausage I did not like though I am glad not to have know it before it was a sausage. Good article.

  4. ray says:

    PS… Myers of Keswick sausage rolls are fantastic. Make sure you have them warmed up.

  5. Peter E. Rosenblatt says:

    Thanks for an interesting commentary. I’m not Scots, but do know Haggis is served traditionally on Burns Night to celebrate the birthday of Robt. Burns on Jan. 25th.
    I have heard it is borne into the room on a silver platter to the accompaniment of bagpipe music played by a piper in full regalia. (Google suggests one place to try it is next Burns night at the NY Caledonian Society, at All Souls Church on Lexington Ave.
    at 80th St.)