What can you say about sausage? That it’s funny because of its phallic shape, that you can’t always know what’s in it (and that’s scary), and just about every culture around the world has it. Sausages vary from place to place, and in different eras, and the variety of force meat in casings means it can even be hard to define.
The ubiquity of the food makes it hard to trace its first moments on Earth; sausages were a solution to a problem that every culture was likely to come up against. “Sausages were created originally for two reasons: One, to make use of every little piece of the meat, so nothing is wasted, and two, by using salt and smoking, it was a way to preserve it,” explains Gary Allen, author of Sausages: A Global History, pointing to the rise of coordinated hunting and the ability to pull down increasingly larger game as one of the conditions that led to the birth of sausages.