Growing up my Dad would tell us how he loved blood pudding. He would regale us with how wonderful it was, how it was something he had grown up with, but could never find …. and when he did find it, on a menu in some obscure little diner, that place then became his favorite restaurant of all time! On occasion my Grandmother (his mother) would find a way to get her hands on some. We never knew how she got it, but when she fried it up with some eggs and toast, it was the treat of all treats for my Dad.
As children, would we eat it? Are you kidding? Pudding made out of “BLOOD”! Just the name alone was frightening. Even if he called it by its other popular name, ‘black sausage’, I think our young taste buds would have vehemently declined the invitation. At that time, blood pudding (black pudding, blood sausage) wasn’t made in New England. At least not that we knew. It was only available if someone coming from the “old country” secretly tucked it into their suitcase when they made the trip over, which didn’t happen often.
The first time I went to Ireland, I was amazed that blood pudding was on every breakfast menu. People were eating it … and enjoying it!! Huh? No longer a child screwing up my face at every food that didn’t sound good, I decided I’d be brave, I’d be an adult, I’d try it … which I did. Meaty, but with more texture, a hint of spice, but not overpowering. Bloody? Yes, but no more than a good rare steak. Sliced and fried up, it had a great crunch. Hmmm, was I missing something all these years?
Going through the airport on my way back home, there was blood pudding available for sale in the dairy case at the duty free shops. I HAD to bring some home to my Dad! How could I not!! So, I bought it …. and, yes, I “tucked” it into my carry-on, hoping that it wouldn’t be discovered (which it wasn’t).
Blood pudding ….. known by various different names in the U.K., is also very popular in other countries. In Germany, it is blutwurst …. boudin noir in France …. buristo in northern Italy and sanguinaccio in southern Italy. In Spain, it is called morcilla. This delicious and very popular sausage originated from the days when no part of the freshly-slaughtered pig went unused. The ‘sausage’ itself was created as a way of preserving meat. Historians can trace sausage making back to 2000 B.C. and even earlier. Homer’s the Odyssey, written about 1000 B.C., appears to be the oldest written word about sausage. “there are some goats’ paunches down at the fire, which we have filled with blood and fat, and set aside for supper; he who is victorious and proves himself to be the better man shall have his pick of the lot”.
And in the satirical play by Aristophanes in 424 B.C., the sausage is described as the perfect preparation for a politician: “Mix and knead together all the state business as you do for your sausages. To win the people, always cook them some savory that pleases them.”
In our ever-shrinking world, imported blood pudding is now sold everywhere in New England, generally available in the refrigerated or freezer section of the supermarket. Sales of blood/black pudding have made a remarkable turnaround …. up by 25% this year alone.
Made with fresh pigs’ blood and a filler such as oatmeal, barley or buckwheat, fat of some sort, with onions and a variety of spices, there are now local butchers who have mastered the art of making this classic sausage. A nutritional powerhouse, blood sausage is high in potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Unfortunately, it contains a lot of saturated fat, mostly because it is generally served fried as part of a traditional ‘fry-up’.
Is it possible that there is a renewed interest in this ofall. Absolutely! The resurgence of interest in this sausage is amazing as young chefs begin creating recipes using blood sausage and putting these delicacies back on their menus. – Great British Chefs Black Pudding Recipes –
Although I haven’t tried them, I will shortly. Meanwhile, you can count me in as …. a lover of BLOOD PUDDING!!