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Bangers and mash

A plate of bangers and mash in London, England.

What: Bangers and mash—a.k.a. sausages and mashed potatoes—has long been a favorite of the British working class, a staple of both the country’s pubs and overall cuisine. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s hearty and cheap, tastes good, and is, well, meat and potatoes, the world’s happiest protein-carbohydrate marriage. The term bangers is said to come from the fact that sausages back in the day tended to explode when cooked over high heat, while mash simply reflects that charming British habit of shortening words (the third, and equally important, component is onion gravy). Sausages nowadays might be pork, beef, or lamb, or fancified with any number of gourmet extras, but one of the most traditional of meat sticks used is Cumberland sausage, a chunky pork sausage from northwest England with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. It’s the ultimate comfort food, British style.

Where: Our photo is from dinerlike S&M Cafe in Spitalfields, which sadly closed in early 2012. In its absence we suggest  Mother Mash (multiple locations including 26 Ganton St., map) in Soho, where lots of (free-range) sausage, mash, and gravy varieties await.

Order: Mother Mash, like S&M Cafe, lets you mix and match, and get two (£7.50) or three (£8.50) sausages with your choice of mash and gravy (you can also choose to have a locally sourced meat pie with your mash and gravy). On offer is Cumberland sausage, Lincolnshire, lamb and mint, beef and Guinness, and a handful of others, as well as a vegetarian option. Though there are options like horseradish mash and veggie gravy, we recommend pairing your pan-fried sausage with classic mash and traditional or onion gravy.

Alternatively: You’ll see this dish at many a regular old pub, but a lot of those regular old pubs are better for just drinking in, if you get our drift. It’s worthwhile to seek out quality. A good bet is to hit up a gastropub like The Wells (30 Well Walk, map) in Hampstead, where the traditional Cumberland sausage-mash-onion gravy trinity is usually offered. British-food mini-chain Canteen (multiple locations include Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd., map) always has it too.


 

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