New Internationalist

Sausage

August 2002

Sausage is from the Latin salsus (salted): the Romans made sausages of salted meat to eat during the winter months. About 1900 Harry Stevens sold frankfurters (first made at Frankfurt am Main) in hot bread rolls at a New York baseball ground.  The cartoonist TA Dorgan called these ‘hot dogs’ in a cartoon of a dachshund in a bread roll, perhaps because of rumours as to the contents of the sausages. Dorgan also invented the phrase ‘cat’s pyjamas’.

Botulism, a bug that was first found in tinned sausages, is from the Latin botulus (sausage). Bowel is from the same root.  Another bug that causes food poisoning, salmonella, has nothing to do with salmon but gets its name from the US pathologist, Daniel Elmer Salmon (1850-1914).

Susan Watkin

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 348 This column was published in the August 2002 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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