It is said that whether it's the opening of Parliament, an election, the launch of a new art gallery or simply a trip to Bunnings hardware, there is no Australian event that cannot be improved by a sausage sizzle.
By Jeremy Ryland
Of course, the sausages will be sizzling this coming
Saturday (18 May 2019) as we all go to the polls to cast our votes for the Federal
government for the next three years.
Whilst the sausage originated thousands of years ago, we in Australia have adopted the sausage sandwich for ourselves. Sausages sizzling on a barbecue, usually served with fried onions and tomato sauce in a slice of fluffy white bread, simply make people happy. This is simple comfort food. A snack. Enjoyed by everyone–especially politicians who want to be seen as one of the people. And whilst being a staple at most barbecues, schools and sporting events, the humble sausage sizzle is synonymous with Bunnings and elections.
The sausage sizzle on Election Day was first reported in the newspapers in the 1940’s, and in 1989, the Labour Party was accused of bribing voters with free sausages and drinks, which was vehemently denied by Mr Peter Dowding, the then Premier of WA.
The Election Day sausage sizzle has become such an important part of the voting process, that a group of enterprising and community spirited people, even run a web site called https://democracysausage.org,
showing you where to get a sausage on Election Day. As they say, it's practically part of the Australian Constitution.
The sausage itself is basically a ground meat product, packaged in a casing traditionally made from intestines. Sausage making is a traditional food preservation process born from efficient butchery, using up offcuts, organs, and blood with salt and various other flavourings. They may be cured, dried, smoked, frozen or used fresh, and come in a huge range of varieties.
The word sausage, comes from the Latin salsicus – meaning seasoned with salt. There are references to intestines filled with meat dating back beyond the 8th century BC, and the Ancient Greeks and Romans wrote about sausages. Sausages can be traced to ancient China and are part of most European cultures.
Today there are thousands of different sausages from black pudding and Haggis, to wurst, salami, chorizo and hot dogs, and sausage making has become an artisan art-form. However, the sausage used for the Australian sausage sizzle should be a plain and simple, fresh pork or beef snag.
Due to a small incident in November 2018, Bunnings introduced a rule at its charity supporting sausage sizzles, that the fried onions should be placed on the bread before the sausage. This is to avoid the onion falling off the bread and creating a slip hazard. This health and safety rule brought outrage amongst sausage sandwich aficionados and Aussies turned to social media to express their views on the “ridiculous” procedural change.
So important is the Sausage Sandwich to Australians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked for his views whilst at an ASEAN meeting of World leaders in Singapore! As he fielded questions on overseas policy, trade deals and issues in the Asia Pacific region, he was asked where one should place the onions inside a Bunnings sausage sanga? “Whether the onions are on top or underneath… I’ll always be buying sausages on bread whether it’s at the football, whether it’s at Bunnings or anywhere I can assist to those great charitable causes,” Mr Morrison said. A man of the people!?
The Democracy Sausage Sandwich highlights the importance of food in our lives and communication. We join together with food to celebrate all forms of human endeavour. The barbecue in particular, is a classless social experience; one of the simple pleasures of life. Australia’s inhabitants have grilled food on an open fire for thousands of years. Today, the backyard barbecue is a tradition. It is a style of cooking that is practised across all social classes and in almost every home. The sausage sizzle is a special type of barbecue designed to raise money for community groups. The sausage sizzle is about more than just food; it’s about community spirit, helping others and bringing people together.
So this Election Day, regardless of your political preference, enjoy a Democracy Sausage and support this great country of ours.