Sausage roll nation
March 9, 2016 10:48 AM   Subscribe

 
Now is the time that I didn't realize Greggs was a food-seller. Their sign made me think they were a estate agents' chain (all that orange). Whoops.
posted by Kitteh at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Those strange square things in the picture are bakes, which strike me as some form of standardized intermodal pastry/pie.
posted by zamboni at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I hear sausage roll, I think Chaos A.D. (Tom Jenkinson)'s "Generation Shit" (SLYT).

"It's the ultimate acid house party will make you lose control. Listen to my bass line freakery at lunch. Anyone for a sausage roll? etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc."

And now I kinda want one - since I've never had one before. It sounds yummy.
posted by symbioid at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2016


This thread has led me to furiously search for the place I always get pasties from when in Victoria Station, but then also the ones I get when I'm in Liverpool Station. Turns out it is two different pasty stands. (The Pasty Shop and West Cornwall Pasty Company, for the curious.)

This thread has also led me to wish I could magic a pasty into being at my office desk.
posted by Kitteh at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2016


I cannot resist a good sausage roll.
posted by My Dad at 11:21 AM on March 9, 2016


I read this article while eating a sausage roll, albeit one homebaked (ok, not an ideal tea). But yes, Greggs is wonderful and I'm so proud that something so culturally mine is so damn successful.
posted by Emma May Smith at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2016


We built this city on sausage rolls.
posted by howfar at 11:23 AM on March 9, 2016 [27 favorites]


Cheese and onion pasties. Oh man.
There were 3 Greggs within 5 minutes walk of my workplace. The one which never stocked Bridies has now shut. Serves them right.

I have been on a diet since September and haven't allowed myself anything from Greggs. I've lost 8 stone by walking to work and not going there for lunch.

(I was a total glutton for Greggs.)
posted by gnuhavenpier at 11:31 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


They recently introduced a katsu curry pasty, which has been selling well

Whoa there, kids. You don't just drop a bombshell like that.

Ham and cheese bakes used to be my comfort food on cold days when I knew I still had an hour bus ride to sit in a freezing office where I'd be yelled at all day.

But by switching to fast food instead of baked goods, this means they no longer make those gorgeous cheese scones. And my heart is broken.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2016


(The Pasty Shop and West Cornwall Pasty Company, for the curious.)

It's interesting that the takeaway pastry market is sufficiently complex for these to both represent a fairly significant step up in price from Greggs. They sell Cornish pasties that a Cornish person can recognise, which involves using a fair bit of reasonably quality stewing beef (I spent a couple of years working for a smaller competitor in this particular sector of the market). Greggs focuses on delivering bang (hot fillings, flaky pastry) for the buck, rather than any aspirations to an authentic or premium product.
posted by howfar at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


In a few places, Greggs is being undercut by Poundbakery.
posted by Wordshore at 11:49 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


this makes me a bit sad, but it means i've been away from the uk for so long i no longer know what people are talking about. i have no idea what a flat white is, for example (a slice of white bread? surely not! maybe tea with milk? but why "flat"?).

anyway, i will be there in 3 days' time. i guess i will add a visit to greggs to the todo list.

edit: google tells me a flat white is a coffee with a flat layer of milk foam over a shot. so they have real coffee? doesn't sound so bad.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gregg was my grandmother's last name (and my first name). I'm an American and have never heard of the chain...but it's weird reading about my very own bakery business. I'm hungry for a sausage roll, even though I just ate lunch and have never even heard of a sausage roll.
posted by kozad at 12:24 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh jeez, is that basically a sausage Pop-Tart? They should expand to the States.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:25 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have now twice read this as "sausage roll notation" which I'm sure would be charty and fabulous.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:31 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


yeah! how come savory pop tarts are not a thing here in the US???
posted by supermedusa at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2016


There is a spot in Leeds where you can see five of them.

> Oh jeez, is that basically a sausage Pop-Tart? They should expand to the States.

The most fun I had when staying with friends in the US was introducing them to savoury pies. This was in deepest darkest western MA and it was brand new to everyone. I don't normally make pastry on vacation, but some wrongs need rectifying.
posted by vbfg at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The big shopping mall near me has a Greggs by all but one of the entrances/exits (The Greggs-free exit is the posher side, near the Apple Store) so you usually have to walk past the smell of greasy, tempting, calorie-laden pastry at the start and end of each visit.

The square pastry things in the photo that might look like savoury pop-tarts are not actually sausage rolls, unless Greggs have become very heretical since I was last there. They look like Greggs pasties of some sort. Sausage rolls are tubular. Well, vaguely tubular.

The traditional way to eat a sausage roll is while doing something else (maybe walking between shops) so that they don't actually count as a meal, just a tiny snack. They will usually disappear between a supermarket checkout and a parked car, for instance.

Sausage rolls have caused some confusion before
posted by BinaryApe at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


i need a pasty so bad rn
posted by Kitteh at 1:07 PM on March 9, 2016


The square things are going to be:

Corned beef pasty

Sausage and bean

Chicken and mushroom

Steak

Cornish slice, so minced beef and vegetables like peas and carrot. They have taken to calling these (and the proper pasty shapes pasties) beef and vegetable. Presumably this is because they don't come from Cornwall. I kid you not I have had to explain to professional pie sellers in England who themselves are English what a Cornish pasty is.

Some people foretell the coming of Christmas by the arrival of the Coke advert. Others do it by the coming of the Festive Bake. Turkey, stuffing and a tidgy bit of cranberry.

I should stop reciting their menu from memory.
posted by vbfg at 1:10 PM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


I ate an 'enchilada' pie at Greggs. It made me sad.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:11 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is a spot in Leeds where you can see five of them.

Corner of the Headrow and Albion Street?

1. Albion Street near Next Outlet
2. Albion Street in The Light
3. Headrow near the Art Gallery
4. Headrow opposite Argos
5. ??? (Is it further down Eastgate? Merrion Centre?)
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is a spot in Leeds where you can see five of them.

When I was a student in Durham, there was a spot on the Bailey road where there were three shops on either side of you - and fully three of those six shops were Greggses.

(...Greggsi?)
posted by aihal at 1:37 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


That exact spot, yes.

Further down Headrow opposite the town hall is the other (or a bit further on, but on the opposite side of the road to where the town hall and art gallery is). And there are several others within a couple of minutes walk that you happen to not have direct line of sight to at that specific moment.
posted by vbfg at 1:37 PM on March 9, 2016


Getting a Greggs is one of my Friday Treats. I've been known to eat two steak bakes without even thinking. My absolute favourite thing is an iced apple danish, which is one of your five a day. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

My only gripe with Greggs is the cost. When I were young, a sausage roll was about 20p, or a large was 30p. Now they're all the same size (small) and they're nearly a quid.

Pound Bakery have opened up by me. I noticed the other day they sell a cheeseburger pasty, which is basically a burger with a slice of cheese on top, wrapped in pastry.

Also, Iceland now sell actual Greggs pasties that you can cook at home at your own convenience. A freshly cooked steak bake at 2AM is now a thing. And people say British food is rubbish.
posted by Solomon at 1:40 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ridin' down the highway
Goin' to a show
Stop in all the byways
Playin' rock 'n' roll
Gettin' robbed
Gettin' stoned
Gettin' beat up
Broken boned
Gettin' had
Gettin' took
I tell you folks
It's harder than it looks

It's a long way to the shop if you wanna sausage roll
posted by Thella at 1:42 PM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


Growing up I thought that pasties were an Eastern Pennsylvania slate mining town thing since my dad's family was from there and always made them. I didn't realize that everyone there were dependents of Cornish and Welsh immigrants who came to work the slate mines.
posted by octothorpe at 1:43 PM on March 9, 2016


Possibly the lowest UK chain other than JD Wetherspoon's.
posted by colie at 1:48 PM on March 9, 2016


The sausage rolls look to me like something that would come around at a nice dim sum place where you point at unidentified items on the carts rolling past, and at the end they count the plates on your table to see what you owe.
posted by elizilla at 1:52 PM on March 9, 2016


Possibly the lowest UK chain other than JD Wetherspoon's.

If Wetherspoons had Greggs concessions, with £2.50 meal deals for a pint and a sausage roll, folk would think it were Christmas every day of the week.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Even if Wetherspoon's is drunk and doesn't give a shit I'm still backing Greggs in a fight.
posted by vbfg at 1:54 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


They conquered Britain by buying out all the other bakery chains and slowly closing them down.
posted by dng at 2:02 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]




hmmm, the online Greggs pasty menu doesn't have Cornish pasties??? Or ground beef pasties even.
posted by Bwithh at 2:09 PM on March 9, 2016


If you are in Scotland, do not, for the love of Cthulhu, mistake a Greggs Scotch Pie for a real Scotch Pie. The real thing is made with high quality ground beef steak. The Greggs version ... let's just say, it isn't.
posted by cstross at 2:12 PM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


kozad: that's a very weird feeling, isn't it?

(In Austria, there is a chain of laundries called "Stross". Guess how weird that makes me feel!)
posted by cstross at 2:14 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Possibly the lowest UK chain other than JD Wetherspoon's.

I really, really have to disagree with this. As well as working in cafés for a while, I spent a number of years in the pub trade. Wetherspoons are successful because they do what a lot of people want at a price they can afford. They frequently serve as community pubs for working-class people when those people can't afford to drink anywhere else and have vanishingly few communal options open to them other than the pub; they serve a range of drinks that people want to drink at prices they can afford; they offer a lot of people (most notably older people) an opportunity to eat out that they would not otherwise enjoy; and, most importantly, they don't do this at this expense of thriving small businesses, but rather the expense of money grabbing breweries who have used and abused tenant landlords for decades, driving up prices while driving down profits. simply because they can. I'd much rather be a Wetherspoons manager than a tenant landlord any day of the year. Better conditions and more security matter a lot.

Of course I'd like it if this country were full of true freehouses, thriving on their own terms. But you're deluded if you think that Wetherspoons is the reason we don't have that.
posted by howfar at 2:25 PM on March 9, 2016 [19 favorites]


hmmm, the online Greggs pasty menu doesn't have Cornish pasties??? Or ground beef pasties even.

The beef and vegetable pasty would be the closest to the Cornish pasty. They're not calling it a Cornish pasty because that phrase is now geographically protected, just like Parma ham or champagne, so only pasties made in Cornwall can use that name.

Noting cstross' comments as well - don't mistake chain store pasties for the real, made-and-sold-in-Cornwall pasties, which are a delight I still remember 15 years after last visiting Cornwall.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:28 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Next time you make a sausage roll (and if this isn't a regular occurrence, sort yourself out), press a shallow trough into the sausage meat before rolling, then sprinkle stilton into the channel and grout it in with red onion chutney. Make sure you inform a friend that you've done this, because eating a whole batch of sausage rolls by yourself is dangerous.
posted by lucidium at 2:29 PM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also worthwhile at this point to quote the lyrics of the wonderful David Thomas Broughton:
Can’t get a job,
I can’t tie down a living,
I can’t get by on the pittance they’re giving,
I can’t afford a pasty from the Gregg’s bakery,
That’s not the weight (stone) I carry with me.
More songs should reference Gregg's.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:35 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


what is a "tenant landlord"? those two words are opposite to me.
posted by scose at 2:36 PM on March 9, 2016


They're not calling it a Cornish pasty because that phrase is now geographically protected

And, because, as they note (with actually quite a lot of charm, this website's really well done) they include carrots and peas. The only, and I repeat only, ingredients in a Cornish pasty are steak, potatoes, turnip (you may call it swede but you're not from Cornwall), onion, salt and pepper. A reasonable dose of pepper, because it's the only spice, but not so much it dominates. You may use a mixture of black and white pepper, in my view, but the main thing is for the pepperiness of the turnip to infuse and season the other ingredients, so use them for support and don't get carried away.
posted by howfar at 2:39 PM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


what is a "tenant landlord"? those two words are opposite to me.

"Landlord" here refers to the person running the pub, rather than an owner of property. In this case they are renting the pub from a brewery or a so-called pubco, who require the pub to buy only their beer. A "free house" is a pub that isn't tied to a brewery or pubco, and can serve what it likes. [howfar might have a better explanation]
posted by Pink Frost at 2:41 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


what is a "tenant landlord"?

The person who is the landlord (self employed operator) of a public house which is leased from a brewery through a lease which requires the landlord to purchase all products from said brewery.
posted by howfar at 2:42 PM on March 9, 2016


  do not … mistake a Greggs Scotch Pie for a real Scotch Pie

There's always been the Butcher's Pie/Baker's Pie split. The former is succulent meat encased in greyish, waterproof pastry, while the latter is some form of meat(ish) product in glorious flaky pastry. Both of them taste okay under enough baked beans. If you're really lucky, you'll find a pie made with care from both trades, as I can in Toronto (om nom all of the pies I have ate them). If they are still there, Oliphant's of Linlithgow make a pie of rare beauty. But Greggs's, avoid.

The real reason to go to Greggs is the Yum Yum. In form, a little like a bowtie or twist donut, but entirely, perfectly delicious.
posted by scruss at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


> what is a "tenant landlord"? those two words are opposite to me.

Wetherspoons is a pub chain. The manager of a pub is the landlord. This may be the owner. More typically, the pub is owned by a brewery or by a company which owns a group of pubs. The manager in that situation is the tenant landlord. Many local pubs operate like this, and one of the reasons they are dying out is the abusive relationship that exists between you the landlord and your landlord.
posted by vbfg at 2:46 PM on March 9, 2016


I survived the London Worldcon two years ago thanks to Greggs; that was the only reasonable breakfast option near my shitty hotel, so I'd buy a couple of bacon rolls or whatever and a coffee to go, hop on the light rail and mosey on down to the convention halls. Decent breakfast for little meant more money for books.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2016


Thanks for the answers everybody! (in the USA, "landlord" only means "person who owns rental property" and not "pub operator")
posted by scose at 2:52 PM on March 9, 2016


A tenant landlord is someone who sublets barstools and tables on a very short term basis, then? (More seriously, I have mixed emotions about the pubcos. Nice to have predictability and well trained staff, especially if you're on a special diet, but yeah, definitely a shame they're not good places for their sharecroppers.)
posted by ambrosen at 3:18 PM on March 9, 2016


It's the British Tim Horton's!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:53 PM on March 9, 2016


There is a proper scottish butcher near my new place in Hamilton, Ontario, and the sausage rolls there are amazing.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:08 PM on March 9, 2016


So they're hot pockets?
posted by sleeping bear at 10:40 PM on March 9, 2016


as I understand it, in American speak, the "bakes" pasties are distant relatives of hot pockets and sausage rolls are large distant relatives of pigs in a blanket.
posted by Bwithh at 11:05 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


A guy once told me a story of how his aunt had a great big golden labrador when he was a bairn - "It's arse was right at my heid height. I've never eaten a sausage roll since."
posted by gnuhavenpier at 12:53 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is a spot in Leeds where you can see five of them.

I once tried to help out a stranded spainard in Leeds who was supposed to be meeting friends. I asked them where and they said near the Greggs. They looked confused when I said they had to be more specific than that because there are probably 10 Greggs in the city centre and unfortunately they couldn't remember the pub they were supposed to be heading to to watch the world cup game. They laughed when I suggested it would be easier to make new friends at the pub than try to find their friends by looking at every Greggs in Leeds.
posted by koolkat at 3:15 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


as I understand it, in American speak, the "bakes" pasties are distant relatives of hot pockets and sausage rolls are large distant relatives of pigs in a blanket.

I don't know what you're calling a pig in a blanket, but in the UK they are not the same thing. A pig in a blanket is a chipolata (small sausage) wrapped in bacon. A sausage roll is minced pork (sausage) wrapped in puff pastry.
posted by Dysk at 3:42 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


A US pig in a blanket is a hotdog wrapped in a dough and then baked. Usually it is a flaky pastry such as the dough used to make a croissant and quite similar to the dough used for a sausage roll. I'm probably in the quite unique position of being able to translate between these two cultures, having grown up in Vermont, but having lived for 10 years now in Leeds.
posted by koolkat at 3:54 AM on March 10, 2016


a real Scotch Pie. The real thing is made with high quality ground beef steak.

Uhh. what?!

A Scotch pie is hot water crust pastry surrounding spiced mutton, and I would argue ideally not the good mutton.
If you're in Scotland and eating something with minced beef and flaky pastry then you've got yourself a bridie, not a scotch pie (If it's shortcrust pastry it's a Forfar bridie)

(so mad at you right now cstross... So. Mad!)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


A US pig in a blanket is a hotdog wrapped in a dough and then baked.

By "a hotdog" you mean a sausage, right? Because over here, a hotdog is a sausage in a hotdog bun.
posted by Dysk at 3:59 AM on March 10, 2016


"a hotdog is a sausage in a hotdog bun."

I disagree.
A hotdog is a very particular type of sausage, in a hotdog bun (or finger roll, as the packet calls them)
A normal sausage in the same bun is not a hotdog, it is a sausage in a bun or if you prefer a "Sausage innabun"

Imagine if someone tried to serve you a Toulouse sausage in a roll and called it a hotdog.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


A hotdog will mean different things depending on where in the US you are talking, but usually it means something similar to a frankfurter sausage. Imagine the "american style hotdogs" that you get pickled in brine in the supermarkets here, but fresh and not pickled.
posted by koolkat at 4:21 AM on March 10, 2016


A normal sausage in the same bun is not a hotdog, it is a sausage in a bun or if you prefer a "Sausage innabun"

Clearly you've never been to a burger van. Any sausage in a hotdog bun - most usually a standard British pork sausage - is and will be called a hotdog by a large segment of the population here.
posted by Dysk at 4:34 AM on March 10, 2016


I'm sat here quite literally agog at the concept of sausage rolls being a non universal food stuff in a western culture, a la burgers, pizza or chips/fries. They are just so ubiquitous here in the UK. I need to seriously check my baked-pork goods privilege.

No cornish pasties I get, they're local and they're a bit weird from an objective view point, but no sausage rolls?

Mind = BLOWN.
posted by fatfrank at 4:54 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


I mean, even if the idea wasn't directly imported into the US, how come parallel evolution didn't take care of this? How come no-one, in all of American history, had the foresight to say "Sausage meat, baked in flaky pastry? FUCK YEAH!".

You poor, poor people.
posted by fatfrank at 5:06 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Any sausage in a hotdog bun - most usually a standard British pork sausage - is and will be called a hotdog by a large segment of the population here.

Ugh, the wurst, Just... the wurst!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:55 AM on March 10, 2016


I mean, even if the idea wasn't directly imported into the US, how come parallel evolution didn't take care of this?

Sausage biscuits occupy that niche in the US. Which is to say an American-style biscuit, more or less a savory scone, cut in half like a hamburger bun and with sausage (and perhaps egg and cheese) in the middle. Not the same thing I know.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:04 AM on March 10, 2016


I recently saw a wag on twitter refer to a Gregg's Lasagne.

a cheese and onion slice on top of a steak slice.

I have never eaten anything out of greggs, even when i was in Leeds and it was pointed out by a local that I was at the PentaGreggs Locus and that I should reflect on the significance of it.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 6:18 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The PentaGreggs Locus is of course there to hasten the aporkalypse.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:27 AM on March 10, 2016




US sausage is approximately equal to UK minced meat (not to be confused with mincemeat). Sausage biscuits, though a delicious breakfast food, are almost exactly unlike a sausage roll.
posted by monotreme at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


In Australia we have fairly good cultural visibility of both the US and UK thanks to too much media from both.
We have sausage rolls in the British sense, but don't really have what a lot of US call sausage, a manufactured minced meat supplied in a rolled form that is sliced cross ways into a burger-like disk. The things UK/AU call sausages are called frankfurts (especially if they are the red jacketed type) or links in the USA.
Hence some of the confusion. The lack of savoury pies in the US is the real crime against humanity. I think the basic issue is that most flakey pastry in the US has sugar or some sweetener added, like a pop tart - which is more what I would call a short crust pastry.
Imagine a light fluffy pastry not unlike a croissant encasing a beef casserole/stew and you might get somewhere close.
The other local variation is a UK style sausage, usually beef, cooked in the open air on a hotplate with onions and sauce served on a soft roll a bit like a hot dog. These are called a sausage sizzle, and are prepared by volunteers as a fund raising drive. You will see them at fairs, school fetes, outside the polling place on election day (#democracysausage) and out the front of large DIT/Hardware stores.
I have noticed in the last few years an up market, for profit version appearing at fairs which uses bratwurst or some other gourmet sausage with various mustards and relishes. It is all pretty good.
posted by bystander at 1:16 PM on March 10, 2016


outside the polling place on election day (#democracysausage)

There was a short interview on NPR this morning with the author of Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich, which lauded the Democracy Sausage as an exemplar of egalitarian electoral motivation, suitable for emulation by the Land Of The Free. I await that day with bated breath.

For more on the sausage sizzle and its importance to Australia, see this tumblr post.
posted by zamboni at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2016


Far too late to this thread considering my enormous love for sausage rolls. One thing that has always stumped me as a Briton living in France is the lack of sausage rolls here, considering the the French combination of the ubiquity of bakeries, love of pastry, and very French sausages!

At least M&S has taken off again in Paris so I can buy the chilled ones.
posted by ellieBOA at 2:08 AM on March 11, 2016


Pork Roll Egg and Cheese
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:03 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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