UK Sausage Week talks to food writer and cookery expert Sophie Grigson, the celebrity face of UK Sausage Week 2018.
Q. Why did you accept the opportunity to host the UK Sausage Week 2018 lunch?
A. Who wouldn’t? I’d personally say bangers and mash is our national dish – more so than roast beef.
Q. What makes a good sausage?
A. A really good balance of meat and fat. Enough fat to make it juicy and succulent accompanied by really good seasoning.
Q. What is your favourite sausage dish and why?
A. Now this is a tricky one; there are times when nothing but sausage and mash with lots of onion gravy will do, but on other occasions all you need for maximum happiness is a barbecued sausage in a bun with mustard. Last week I made a really delicious dish of sausages, cooked with peppers, wine, soy sauce and redcurrant jelly.
Q. Why is the ‘humble banger’ such a popular meat product?
A. They’re cheap, delicious and easy to cook. You can’t go wrong with that. Sausages are also one of the ‘classless’ dishes – everyone of every background loves sausages.
Q. When did you decide to launch a career in food and how did your career start?
A. I never decided to launch a career in food at all. I just fell into it. My mother was the food writer Jane Grigson and I accompanied her to a foodie event, where somebody asked me to write a food piece for them. That’s how it started. Growing up in a ‘foodie household’ it was natural for me to grow up with a keen interest in food and an awareness of its importance in culture. There is much more to be said about food than whether it tastes good. Sausages are a case in point – they were originally thought of as ‘the poor man’s food’ but they’re enjoyed by everyone. Sausages have played a real part in our history.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A. I’ve been lucky to travel a lot, meet some fascinating people and try some great food. Some of the best experiences have not been the ‘grandest’ ones. A favourite moment was making pasta in Sicily with Italian women. I spent an afternoon with three ladies who make pasta all the time and we fed a whole family. They teased me mercilessly about how inferior my pasta was!
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your cookery school?
A. We are a pop-up cookery school based in Oxford but we travel around offering classes of all kinds. Examples include authentic Mexican cooking, bread for beginners and Korean dishes. We have several teachers and the classes are a real example of how the joy of food brings people together.
Q. What are your career plans for the future?
A. My life is about to change a lot as I am moving to Italy. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about food over there. The cookery school will carry on and I want to learn how to make great pasta! I will obviously miss British sausages – as much as I like Italian sausages they’re not the same and I won’t be able to get bangers and mash whenever I want it!
Q. Do you have a favourite UK restaurant and why?
A. One of my favourites is Arbequina. It’s a little tapas bar which I’d say offers the best food in Oxford.
Tickets and tables for UK Sausage Week’s celebration lunch can be booked online at www.uksausageweek.com/awards-tickets. Any queries regarding the lunch should be directed to Emma Cash on 01908 613323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.