In a country that is becoming obsessed with the concept of street food. Let's take a moment to appreciate that quintessential British delicacy the Sausage Roll
This weeks big issue — The future of the sausage roll
Their was a survey recently, asking members of the British army what the missed the most when they were posted abroad. Top of the list was Greggs the Bakers. So now we know When our boys are up to their neck in muck and bullets, it's the thought of a Greggs steak bake or chicken slice that gets them through.
We are country that is obsessed with baking and baked goods, look how popular The Great British Bake Off has become. Is it a coincidence that the popularity of Greggs has grown along side it. The Bake Off is a reminder of the past and Greggs is the taste of home.
So has the sausage roll taken over from Fish and chips as our countries signature dish? A number of articles in the American press have recognised the popularity of meat wrapped in pastry based foodstuffs in Britain, and have tried to explain, amongst other things what a sausage roll actually is. They describe it as a unique sausage based dish usually a chipollata sausage wrapped in a flaky pastry. For the culinary snobs of the USA the reaction has been similar to Peter Kaye's 'Garlic Bread?'
Of course Greggs Sausage rolls are not a modern phenomenon. It's dip back in time to the bakers of the day Sayers Cousins and Reece's. these high street bakeries were the home of other such favourites as the custard slice a proper chocolate eclair and my favourite the Devon Whip. Mostly all gone now, or like the eclair, a shadow of their former self.
It's only the Sausage roll that so far has stood the test of time. It's make up hasn't changed despite attempts by some food stores to gentrify its content. For an example of food gentrification look at what they've done to the The Pork pie, now a victim of the 'Poshing Up' of what was considered working class food. Pork and Pickle or Pork and Apple, are examples of the food hijacking of the common fare. Such is the realignment of our favourite foodstuffs, that in a lot of food stores A pork pie isn't even in the baked section anymore. It's now considered up Market and placed on the 'Deli' section along with Humus Olives and all those artisan cheeses, that you haven't got a clue about and which have pushed aside the once favourite Cheshire and Cheddar varieties
Street food is becoming a popular concept in this country. And many would argue that along with fish and chips the sausage roll was the original British street food. The sight of a child in a pram leaving a trail of flaky pastry is not an uncommon sight around town. You can always tell when someone has been eating a sausage roll, By their unique tell tale cleansing action 'The sweep' comes into play on completion of said savoury product that long sweeping arm motion used to disperse the flakes of pastry. It's a unique feature of the product along with the flock pigeons chasing after the crumbs.
Sadly the writing could be on the wall for the sausage roll and Greggs as it's home could be numbered. The makers of the people's food called a bakers but no longer selling bread, are looking for a new up market audience why else would they be teaming with a wine expert and offering recommendations on which wine to pair with your steak bake. And offering Sushi alongside their four for a pound donoughts.
The craze in town at the moment is for exotic street food restaurants. But can our British street food sellers resist the public demand for change and be forced into offering an exotic twist to our savoury delights. If you want to see this brave new world of British 'mutant' comfort food take a trip around M&S's food hall amongst other reimagined foods, they are selling Hog Roast Sausage Rolls I've tried them and It's the garlic bread of the future, my problem is I don't like garlic bread.