The History of Square Sausage

Square sausage or to give it’s proper Sunday name, Lorne sausage, is a vivid pink beef slice, usually served on a crispy roll and is a firm Scottish favourite. The cheapest of the lot are made of mystery meat, and lots of fat, so they will be exactly half the size they are to begin with after frying.

Lorne Sausage

Broon sauce is indispensable for these cheaper versions, whose flavour can leave much to be desired. The best ones are made with the finest Scottish beef, they are well spiced, fatty and dense.

Scotland’s love for Lorne ­sausage is no new thing. On 5 May, 1917, the ubiquitous breakfast favourite was mentioned in a report by The Scotsman on the economies that the military was making in soldiers’ diet.

One of the breakfast items ­they were given was Lorne sausage, served with gravy, made from collecting meat rations.

In the past, Scottish ­emigrants have taken Lorne ­sausage with them wherever they go, with Australia’s ‘steakette’ and the North American sausage pattie both ­bearing an uncanny resemblance to the original.

It is also no coincidence that the nation’s favourite sausage is made from beef rather than pork.

Historically, beef has been the more popular meat in Scotland and ­recipes found in old Scottish cookery books show us that beef sausages have always been more prominent ­traditionally.

Christian Isobel Johnstone’s The Cook and Housewife’s Manual (1826) gives two recipes for beef sausage; one is for Smoked Scotch Sausages (made with salted beef) and the other is simply called Common Beef ­Sausages.

This recipe is virtually identical to the modern Lorne sausage, expect that it is stuffed into an ox gut rather than shaped in a tin. Though we don’t know who the first butcher was to produce it, or even to call it Lorne, we do know that it is likely the ­sausage as we know it today was developed in the late 19th century.

At this time many advancements were made in metallurgy. This meant that metal tins used for baking and shaping food became cheap to ­produce and readily available, ­making it cheaper and more ­convenient than a natural animal casing.

Besides that, in the second half of the 19th century fresh beef became more readily available too, with refrigerated meat being imported from ­America.

The name Lorne causes a bit of ­contention as we can’t be sure where it originated, although Scots typically refer to it as a square sausage, sliced sausage, square slice, or even flat sausage.

The popular theory is that it was named after Glasgow comedian Tommy Lorne, as he was supposed to have made jokes about the quality of sausage, likening it to doormats.

You find this story everywhere – on butcher’s web sites, articles on ­Scottish food, as well as in books on the history of Scottish food.

As romantic as this bit of Scottish food mythology is, there is nothing to back it up. In fact, the evidence proves quite the contrary.

There are butcher’s advertisements in the Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the ­Montrose Burghs as ­early as 1896 listing ‘Lorne Sausages, 6d’. Tommy Lorne was only born in 1890 and Lorne sausage was clearly already in common usage, so we can scrap that theory.

This news regarding Tommy Lorne, I am afraid, will be received with much dismay by the association of Scottish Craft Butchers, as it is the Tommy Lorne theory by which they are campaigning to gain PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator) status for Lorne sausage.

This being the same status carried by such fine and famous foods as Parma ham, Melton Mowbray Pies, Stornoway Black Pudding, and Arbroath smokies.

Other theories

It is also surprising that the other main theory hasn’t been more widely backed – that Lorne sausage is named after the ancient district of Lorne.

Though there is little evidence to prove that it was named after this extinct region (now part of Argyll and Bute), it makes sense when you consider many other famous ­Scottish foods are named after their town or area of origin.

The only other ­plausible theory is that Lorne ­sausage could have been named after the Marquess of Lorne, the courtesy title given to the son of the Duke of Argyll.

The Marquess of Lorne was famous in the 19th century for marrying ­Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, which became a major national event in 1871.

The Marquess was a well known ­figure, being a member of parliament as well as Governor General of Canada, and the practice of naming foods after famous people, especially aristocrats, was very common in this period – so it is possible that an ­enterprising butcher named his ­sausage after the Marquess.

With it being the 19th century, and by his social standing, the Marquess of Lorne had a lot of things named after him. Lorne became a common forename in Canada. There are also several towns called Lorne in Canada, as well as a lake and another town in Victoria, Australia. A popular make of shoe in Britain was also named after him.

To have a beef sausage named after you is perhaps not the most flattering; perhaps the butcher thought it would give the sausage an air of refinement.

Either that, or the butcher had a very dry sense of humour by likening the texture to a Lorne shoe.

Just in case you are tempted to make your own Lorne sausage there is a recipe below, which is based on a butcher’s.

For Lorne Sausage, the fat content is high, what is called in the trade ‘beef trim (70/30 VL)’, i.e. 70 per cent of the meat is ‘visual lean’ and the rest fat. Some even use a ratio of 60/40 VL. This is the closest one can get to the butcher’s style, without the addition of preservatives.


Make your own Lorne at home with the official UMS recipe

Ingredients:

• 750g minced beef (30% fat)

• 150g pinhead rusk (You could just use breadcrumbs, which would make a nice sausage, however a butcher would use rusk)

• 200g chilled water

• 2 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

• 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

• 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Method

Mix all the spices and salt with the meat in a large bowl. Work in the water to make a sticky mixture. Now work in the rusk until all is thoroughly incorporated.

Pack the mixture tightly into a 23cm x 8cm loaf tin lined with clingfilm. Leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to set. When the sausage has set take it out of the tin and cut it into 1cm slices. Fry or cook under the grill for 4 – 6 minutes.

Julian Assange - Facts, Framing and Context (What the MSM so lazily leave out of their analysis and commentary)

by David McGowran

Following the illegal arrest of Julian Assange by the British State from his residence under political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, I have deemed it necessary to provide some framing and context as to how this man, this journalist, came to be a virtual prisoner in an inner city building for seven years. Sadly our media are so slavish to simplistic narratives that are smoothed out and refined with each passing year that it is now all too easy too see Julian Assange’s attempts to hold out from any form of arrest as somehow absurd.

The media machine began really to perform on behalf of the big state actors (ultimately the US) during the more dramatic moment when Julian Assange successfully obtained political asylum and access to the sovereign space of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. What was very concerning during that time was that support for Assange had been divided and diminished devastatingly as Swedish prosecutors pursued him for 'rape'.  A very emotive subject and one that had many people talking, but unfortunately about the wrong things.  His name had been dragged through the mud, his character assassinated and many normally critically minded people were preoccupied with the rights and wrongs of sexual assault rather than democracy and freedom of speech. I personally don't believe he was ever guilty of any sexual assault and doubt that under ordinary circumstances the complaint would even have made it to a court.



Assange has had very real reasons for avoiding Sweden and they have been nothing to do with answering questions in a police station. Assange had done that already and the police were happy to let him go. He also remained in Sweden voluntarily for five weeks to be available for any follow up questioning. The police had been invited to interview him in London and at the Ecuadorian Embassy also so the thing that happened was that the world was being influenced to think of this as a rapist avoiding a rape charge. Very clever tactic but the fact is that the Swedes had an agenda to get Assange into American hands. The Swedish government had publicly announced in 2012 that they would detain Assange without charge.  The Crown Prosecution Service requested that the 14 days that Assange had to apply to the European Court of Human Rights be reduced to zero. Was Assange to expect fair treatment?

The circumstances leading up to the arrest warrant are somewhat erroneous.  Firstly, no complaint of sexual assault was being made.  The inquiry at the police station was to clarify his female partner’s rights to have Assange take an STD test in the purely hypothetical event of his refusal.  She claims that she was railroaded into making a rape allegation but refused to do so and signed nothing.  The Duty Prosecutor on advice from the interviewing police then issued the warrant.  Assange was not contacted and was arrested in his absence.  Next, this information was deliberately leaked to the Swedish tabloid 'Expressen' which announced to the world in the morning that Assange was a rapist.

Within 24 hours a more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations as having no foundation.  Assange then quite willingly made a statement at a police station on Aug 30th 2010.  He did make his concerns known during the interview that he feared it was to be leaked to Expressen.  Despite the denial of the interviewing officers the entire interview was leaked to the tabloid who published the information the next day.

A third prosecutor appeared on the scene and once again the case was opened.  Assange remained in Sweden for five more weeks to be available for questioning but despite repeated requests made to prosecutor Marrian Ny he was given no opportunity to do so.  On September 15th 2010 Assange was permitted to leave Sweden.  Marrian Ny then issued a 'secret' warrant for Assange's arrest.  Assange continued to make contact but Ny very suspiciously declined the offer of an interview in England using the existing mechanism of Mutual Legal Assistance because she claimed that was illegal under Swedish law.  This third prosecutor has told a very revealing lie.  There is no such law in Sweden.

The manner in which Ny has persued Assange has been highly irregular.  As the warlog.wikileaks.org was being announced, Ny issued an Interpol Red Notice Alert.  These are only issued for high level terrorists and dictators.  The president of Syria does not even have one of these.  This was directly in response to Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning’s release of around a quarter of a million documents know as 'Cablegate' which Assange was preparing to make public.

There was always a genuine concern that the US would make an extradition request of Sweden who have previous form on extradition and torturous rendition on behalf of the US.  The United States Grand Jury sitting in Virginia have been continuing their investigations into Wikileaks and Assange on the charge of 'Conspiracy to Commit Espionage'.  Their investigations involve the names of all the people known to have been involved with Assange and Wikileaks.  Those who have had involvement have been taken aside at airports, followed and intimidated by FBI agents, many of whom have used underhanded tactics like pretending to be Homeland Security agents.  Some have reported that these agents may possibly be looking to turn people into informants.  Assange's own UK legal adviser has also been subject to an 'Inhibited List'.  Us Homeland Security use this phrase for people they feel the need to monitor and the Australian High Commission have complied with the US on this one.

Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning had been held in pre-trial detention for over two years in conditions described by the UN Special Rapporteur as amounting to torture before being released after seven full years of incarceration leading to a suicide attempt.

Had Assange ever made footfall in Sweden he would have been at the mercy of a system which has a record of complying with US wishes.  Sweden has acted illegally in the past and in one case been exposed by Amnesty International for sending Mohammed el Zari and Akmed Agiza to Egypt to be tortured.  The UN eventually demanded that Sweden paid both parties compensation.

To conclude. Julian Assange has at every stage been staring into the open jaws of the US beast which has systematically used torture and lifelong incarceration on those who would seek to expose the nature of it’s hold on global power and lift that thin veil of illusion that keeps the masses to hypnotised. The charges against him were very convenient and used very successfully to divide opinion, particularly amongst the left where sympathies have always been stronger. The narrative has been too easy to write and retell, that he was running from something that he an obligation to face but the reality is that everything that took place in Sweden in 2010 relating to charges and warrants were traps set way back in the US State Department who saw Assange as gettable. The real story is a remarkable one of courage and ingenuity and like Chelsea Manning who is behind bars once again, Julian Assange has sacrificed his life so that we even have the chance to see past the illusion that if believed in any longer will destroy all that is good on this earth.

assange in van.jpg

Europeans for Scottish Independence

Setting off from the Brandenburg Gate ( Image from Marco Görlach)

Setting off from the Brandenburg Gate (Image from Marco Görlach)

by Samhuinn Watt

Mainland Europe continues to watch on in awkward bewilderment, as the Westminster government's handling of the Brexit disaster stumbles its way drunkenly, but with cussed determination, ever higher up a mountain of idiotic indignity. Britain is currently regarded over here as something between a once beloved cousin who's lost her way and slowly burned all her bridges in the process, and a laughing stock. On more than one occasion I've experienced a German cast his eyes to the heavens, let out a wistful little sigh while slowly shaking his head, then chuckle to himself and ask what those scheiss Inselaffen (bloody island apes) will come up with next. I would wish anyone luck in trying to come up with a period in its modern history where Britain's stock in Europe has been lower.

On 16th March however, in the midst of Britain's great shambles, a powerful statement was made on the warmth of feeling and strong bond of solidarity that extends towards Scotland from its continental neighbours. If Scotland has doubts about how it is thought of in Europe beyond the confused island it finds itself adrift on, the Germans for Scottish Independence demonstration that made its way through Berlin, concluded by a series of passionate speeches at its terminus, should assuage some of them.

Around 150 marchers braved a chilly Berlin day, a mix of Scots who had travelled from the Mawland, from all over Germany and beyond, a fair number of Germans and a sprinkling of supporters from various other countries. The march set off from near the Brandenburg Gate, on ground that, as event co-organiser Colin MacPherson pointed out, had once belonged to the no man's land of the Berlin Wall "death strip". Marchers were invited to think about how important popular pressure had been in bringing about the removal of the Wall and the demise of a government that had actively worked against its own citizens, while they walked a couple of hundred yards down the road for a brief stop outside the British Embassy. After a few words there from guest speaker Pat Lee about "the flag of tyranny, of subjugation and of absolute destruction around the world for hundreds and hundreds of years" that hangs from that building, the march carried on along its two mile route. Participants and onlookers were kept entertained on the way by two pipers and a mobile sound system playing a selection of Scottish songs.

The demo eventually finished up at the World Clock on Alexanderplatz, symbolically chosen both for the internationalism it represents and its historical role, from GDR times to the present day, as a gathering point for demonstrators. On arrival there followed an hour and a half of speeches, songs from folk musician Kevin Gore and the wonderful spectacle of a Strip the Willow being danced under the clock by a good number of those present.

The demo’s finishing point, under the World Clock on Alexanderplatz ( Image from Marco Görlach)

The demo’s finishing point, under the World Clock on Alexanderplatz (Image from Marco Görlach)

Amongst the speakers there were contributions from Italy, Australia, Catalonia and The Netherlands, whilst planned speakers from Poland and France, being current UK residents, were forced to cancel due to Brexit uncertainty. When placed alongside several Scottish speakers based both back home and over here, this lent the whole event a truly international flavour. Giada Mazzetti, the founder of Italians for Scottish Independence, spoke about her love for Scotland and the mentality of its people, expressing the strong wish that she'll get to see an independent Scotland within the EU within her lifetime, therefore retaining the option to make it her home someday. Raimond Dijkstra of The Netherlands for Scottish Independence had his speech read out in absentia, with a criticism of mainstream media bias, a call for a united front within the independence movement until the main goal is achieved and an invitation to join his group's march in The Hague on 25th May. A small group of Catalans, as well as showing their solidarity with Scotland's campaign, also waved banners in support of the pro-independence activists and politicians who are currently imprisoned because of their political actions in their homeland. Their spokesperson Ferran Cornellà, as well as addressing this issue, highlighted how independence is about sovereignty rather than the wish to create new borders and how smaller countries in general are less bureaucratic, more efficient and therefore more democratic than larger ones.

Some of the best soundbites meanwhile, came from a fiery speech delivered by Ariel Killick, an Australian-born Gaelic artist. She made the comparison of the internationalism of this event to Nigel Farage's Leave Means Leave march, which was heading off from Sunderland towards London that same day. Farage was compared to a "Pied Piper leading lemmings straight off a cliff, on to a gold-plated ship he definitely won't share with the followers. He'll leave them to drown... (He) demand(s) an exit whose consequences he can well afford, but most of his followers can't." She referred in English and German to the five separate occasions on which Scottish voters have chosen in favour of pro-EU mandates in recent years, but have nonetheless had democracy denied to them. "Scotland was told the broad shoulders of the UK would help it punch above its weight, but now it just gets punched in the face... This was not the union we were sold." Citing the fall of the Berlin Wall as an inspiring example to the world of a peaceful transition to freedom, she described how "independence for us also means interdependence, not isolationism or imperial delusions. A UK government that speaks of enhanced lethality, an increased mass, is one that has learned nothing and changed little from the long gone days of colonialism, seeking to... rule the waves whilst waiving the rules." The ongoing Brexit process was meanwhile compared to "being driven in a chaotic clown car, determined to crash off a cliff with Scotland in the boot, held hostage by Tories who Scotland hasn't voted into government since the 1950s."

As the speechmaking continued with another couple of contributions from closer to home, the wind and rain picked up and the standard jokes about the Scottish weather having arrived were inevitably made. Flags were folded away and kilts dispersed into the Berlin afternoon, but many had a wee spring in their step as they went, having caught just a glimpse of what a shared European future for an open and outward-looking Scotland could look like.

Following the event I grabbed a few words with Marco Görlach, the founder member of and driving force behind Germans for Scottish Independence. He was glad to explain some of the reasons why support for the independence movement makes sense to him.

Strip the Willow under the World Clock ( Image from Marco Görlach)

Strip the Willow under the World Clock (Image from Marco Görlach)

Alongside a love for the UK, and Scotland in particular, that he has felt strongly ever since his first visit in 1991, just after The Wall came down, he explained that,

“As a left-winger, trade unionist, Marxist, internationalist, revolutionary and peace activist, I am always interested when I travel in experiencing countries and their people first-hand. Because of this I got to know lots of comrades and colleagues in Scotland and therefore developed a good overview of its politics, history and society. But not only that. Whenever I went to Scotland, I had a strong sense that I was arriving home. It’s quite hard to describe. Sure, I was on holiday and saw many things through rose-tinted spectacles. Sure, I’ve never actually lived in Scotland and, with very few exceptions, have experienced its dark sides only from stories. But even taking all that into account and separating myself from any romanticised notions of the place, a massive amount of love for it still remains.

"Unfortunately since 2010 personal circumstances have made it extremely difficult for me to visit Scotland, and I began to miss it greatly. I felt a kind of extreme homesickness that was sometimes incredibly painful.

"Then the YES campaign arrived on the scene. I discovered a site called Americans for Scottish Independence on Facebook and was immediately struck by the idea of doing something similar here. It took me some time to overcome my doubts, but finally in January, 2013, I grounded the site Germans for Scottish Independence. I’ve always been a supporter of Scottish independence in principle, so my engagement through the Facebook site allowed me to take active steps to deal with my Scottish homesickness. Even if I couldn’t travel there in person, at least I could feel with my online activities like I was a little bit closer, that I was doing something, making a contribution.

"I see us as a part of the independence movement that is party-independent, democratic and progressive. We take a stand against war and atomic weapons, for peace and freedom. We fully support the lofty ecological aims of the movement. We stand in solidarity with the Scots in their desire for greater social justice. I feel that this more or less describes the general aims of both myself and, of course with some exceptions, our group. Thanks to the great range of progressive causes that the independence movement represents, I really believe that with enough momentum, an important impulse could be sent out from Scotland to the rest of Europe, so that all of a sudden the establishment would be forced to start living up to their own statements.

"As for the demo itself, I must admit that I’m really chuffed with how it went. The quality and content of all the speeches was extremely good. We had a clear intention of demonstrating the international character of the movement, which we certainly achieved. The great range of different backgrounds of the participants allowed us to place an emphasis on international solidarity.

"Also, in comparison to 2017 there were three times as many German-based participants on the march, which was exceptionally pleasing to me. It indicates that we didn’t simply reproduce a Scottish demo in Berlin, but instead were able to show what we, as Scots and Germans in Germany, were able to come up with together. We had our own concept in place and could therefore deliver our own unique take on things. For some time now, our group has been a tangible and recognised part of the movement. That makes me proud. All the endless time and energy spent on thankless groundwork, which at times didn’t seem to be getting us anywhere, eventually paid off in the success of the day, so that on the way home I was already inspired to start pondering how the next event should be organised.

"Our group is small and in Scotland we are irrelevant. At the same time though, we are here doing our best to send a message of solidarity over the North Sea that reaches out across borders. It can only ever be symbolic support, but all the same we hope that through doing so we can repay a little of the love, warmth and freedom that we have experienced as guests in Scotland.