Word of the Week (209): ZAMPONE (probability 17832), by David Sutton

A ZAMPONE (plural ZAMPONI) is a kind of Italian sausage, made with a stuffed pig's trotter.

Foreigners, of course, have always been given to mucking about with the concept of the sausage, which in its unpretentious British form of pork stuffed into a skin, grilled to a brownish-black and served with mashed potato, gravy and fried onions, provided one of the most anticipated and enjoyed dishes of my childhood.

The Italians also offer various other kinds of tubular object that are not my idea of a sausage at all: the SALAMI, the PEPERONI or PEPPERONI, a hard, spicy pork and beef sausage, the MORTADELLA (plural MORTADELLE or MORTADELLAS), and the POLONY, a dry sausage of partly cooked meat, taking its name from Bologna.

The Spaniards offer the wildly over-seasoned CHORIZO. I cannot speak for the Portuguese LINGUICA or LINGUISA, but suspect it comes from the same stable, perhaps literally.

The French, surprise surprise, add garlic to their sausages to make the CERVELAS or CERVELAT, though in France you may also be served an ANDOUILLE, or if times are hard an ANDOUILLETTE. The SAVELOY seems to be the same as the CERVELAS, both going back in origin to the Latin cerebellum, brain, referring to the fact that brains are one of their ingredients.

The best the Irish can manage is the DRISHEEN, made with sheep's blood. The Poles go in for a smoked variety of sausage, the KIELBASA (plural KIELBASY, KIELBASAS, KIELBASI), KOLBASI (plural KOLBASIS), KOLBASSI (plural KOLBASSIS) or KULBASA (plural KULBASAS).

The Germans take endless botched shots at the target, offering the BRATWURST, the BLUTWURST, the KNACKWURST or KNOCKWURST, the LIVERWURST and of course the FRANKFORT or FRANKFURTER, which is also known as the WEENIE, WIENIE, WEINER or WIENER.

What can one say about these foreign pretenders? As Churchill might have declaimed, let them do their WURST, the British banger shall continue to reign supreme among the sausages of the world.


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