Your sausage habits exposed

Click here to view the videoI was doing some web research after our sausage excursion to Calgary and was disturbed at the extent to which the corporate sausage machine has been keeping an eye on our snag tastes.

I’ll elaborate, but first a little on this episode of CTK. We prepare a simple dish that for want of a better name I call “sausagey pasta”. We hadn’t cooked it for a while, so our memories were a little fuzzy on the exact list of ingredients. A bit of Googling and some head-scratching, though, and we came up with a recipe.

Click here to VIEW THE VIDEO

But back to the sausage evil empire. This company called Devro has broken our habits down to pie charts and line graphs. Apparently 31% of us want our sausages straight, but 66% don’t care whether they’re straight or curved. Of more concern, 55% don’t know what’s on the outside of a sausage – natural casing made of gut, or that synthetic stuff we mentioned in the last post.

Anyway: according to Devro, next to no one thinks that a sausage being “traditional” or “premium” has anything to do with the casing. The conclusion of the Devro people? People don’t care, so BUY OUR SAUSAGE CASING! Are they kidding themselves? What silly sausages!

Fighting the good fight, though, is the International Natural Sausage Casing Association. Now the good people at the INSCA admit that the natural sausage scene hasn’t been the best at putting itself forward, or offering research to argue the superiority of its product.

But they hit the nail right on the head for me with this point: “Natural Casing Sausage has that special ‘snap’ and tender bite that’s like no other man-made product, and is so highly demanded by today’s knowledgeable consumers.”

That’s good enough for me, although other superior qualities of gut over synthetic are offered on the site. It’s actually quite interesting reading, and it’s clear from the graphics on the home page where they stand on the straight-vs-curved debate.

Anyway, enough sausage evangelism. Enjoy the episode.

– Waz.

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20 Responses to “Your sausage habits exposed”

  • Very nice! Will try it out, ingredientes are fairly easy to get.

  • You asked for it 😉
    I’ve been watching the last 3 or 4 entries and they are interesting. I’m a sausage lover as well, but not as informed as you guys so it has been educational. Is it just me or are you guys bickering more in this most recent entry? Could work to get viewers… some of that home made tension?
    Len was better at the chopping board than Waz – but you were both way better than your friend doing the Thai!

  • Mmmm! It looked delicious.

    Me thinks the two of you should start a Bed & Breakfast so that us vloggers can come taste your cooking!!

  • This was my first crashtestkitchen video.
    You made me very hungry. Loved your work.
    I’ll be back for more.

  • Look there’s really no reason to put oil in the water. It does not change the boiling temperature, and can only hinder the the rehydration of the pasta.

    Check out detailed commentaries in books like On Food and Cooking, What Einstien Told His Chef also talks about the same, but this book is just a toned down version of the first.

    What would help the pasta was some salt and garlic in the water to give it flavour.

    Good work – my first video blog…

  • According to the last question+answer on this page, and adding a bit more confirmation and explanation to what Adam wrote above, salting is definitely the way to go. It also explains other tips, including why no oil: “Oil seals the pasta from absorbing any additional flavors. So oil is always the last thing that you add on top of your pasta. And it is a myth that the oil in the water will keep the pasta from sticking together. If you want to keep your pasta nicely separated, just stir the pasta occasionally.”

  • Dave "Cheesecake" Rave

    I say add oil to the water to cook patsa as this helps to keep the pasta from sticking together when the water is drained off. As for salt I don’t know I was always under the impression that salt makes the water boil more quickly but it actually raises the boiling point of water, other than that higher altitudes lower the boiling point of water, which would help if you are going to film an episode CTK in the Himalayan Mountains and you need to get the job done quickly because of the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. But that’s my 2 cents worth or should that be 2 pee or at the current exchange rate 0.008632 GBP.

  • Dave "The virgin in replying to comments posted in bloggs" Rave

    Damn… now I’ve just read what Robert Daeley has written about oil not stopping the pasta from sticking together and don’t know what to beleive now as this has been my method for cooking patsa for a long time, although I do stir my pasta frequently when cooking but this I thought was more about it not sticking to the bottom of the pot during the cooking and the oil helps it to stay seperated once the water is drained, I’ve even heard about a small drizzle of oil on the pasta after the water has drained, to stop the stickiness. I should really read all the comments first then reply. Oh well, we all have our first times.

  • Good onya Dave Rave for sticking with the pasta oiler camp. For others, Dave is the bloke in the cheesecake episode.

    I want to try out this other method I heard about where you boil some potato in the water first. I think it’s supposed to release starch into the water, which will stop the pasta sticking. That came from an article I read about an old Italian lady from Tuscany who teaches cooking, and I reckon she’d know. So get that up ya, you non-oiling pasta water salters!

    I have made plenty of fresh pasta from scratch and from memory I’ve always oiled the water. I don’t see how salt could be a bad idea either.

    Anyway, interesting debate.


  • Waz, Waz, Waz.

    Are we destined to forever disagree on pasta cooking? I think it’s clear I’ve come out on top of the “olive oil” debate, but now salt has been thrown into the mix (poor pun intended).

    You won’t see me adding salt to my pasta, because I just don’t like the flavour of salt. I’m pretty sure I get plenty of salt from all the processed foods that are almost unavoidable these days, no matter how hard you try to eat and cook fresh all the time.

    Though I’m don’t doubt the Italians add plenty I’m happy to give it a miss. I prefer my pasta to have a natural flavour. As long as it’s good quality pasta, you can’t go wrong, I reckon.

    However, the garlic-in-water idea seems interesting – might give that a go next time.

    And Waz, don’t you dare sneak salt into the pot when it’s YOUR turn to cook the pasta next time! I’ve got my eye on you!!


  • Hey guys this oil debate has really brought a few of you undone. I go with the side of the no salt no oil but would be interested to learn if the potato boil first method works. What will happen on the road? Will we still get video via laptop etc.? Well I enjoy viewing and will await the next post. Jim

  • Dear Jim and everyone else,

    We will most certainly still be posting now that we’re “on the road” in Canada. Stay tuned for our “Crash Test Kitchen On Safari” series!

    You never know, we might even try the potato-boil-first pasta method.


  • Hey everybody!
    This is my first time on this web site and I like it so much!!!
    I’m from Israel and I’m 15 years old.
    I really like to cook and I read about the pasta argument.
    My advice is to use the potato boil method first and when the water starts to bubble,you should add a pinch of salt to speed up the cooking process.
    You can allso add a spoon of olive-oil after you sift the pasta,just for the flaver.
    Have a nice cooking time!

  • A quick note, oil and water don’t mix, so adding oil doesn’t stop the pasta sticking it just floats on top of the water. I always add salt to the water to help flavour the pasta and add good olive oil once the pasta has been drained unless your adding it directly to a sauce.

    Keep up the good work

  • I’m an oil in the water proponent, why? Learnt it from an Italian Grandmother who vowed and declared it helped the pasta stop sticking. And when Nonna tells you how to cook italian after doing it for 70+ years, you listen!

    Cheers all…and Lenny & Wazza, we’ll have a coldie at our First Monday coming up while watching the footy!

  • I have hypertension and need to make my own sausage which I love to make but I have been constrined from making links due to fact that I cant find any no salt casings. Perhaps you can help me or let me know if my search should end as no such thing exist .


  • I love your show. Thanks for taking the time to do it. As for the oil/no oil thing…No oil. I’ll prove it. Take a piece of good Italian linguine and a piece of cheap pasta from the US. Feel them. The American one is smooth and shiny while the Italian one is rough. That is so the sauce will stick to the pasta. Oil can only serve to defeat the efforts of some guy in Italy who spent a lot of money on high quality bronze dies to make the best pasta (out of American durham wheat just no less). Anyways, enough of that. Oil or no oil, it is nice to see a couple of normal people messing around in the kitchen without taking themselves too seriously. I know a lot about cooking, not the least of which is that the best cooking anyone ever had was made with love and shared with friends. That poor incinerated chicken never had it so good. :)

  • Comment peut on faire un plat pareil ?
    Quel horreur, c’est un mélange, pauvre mélange, dans lequel on ajoute à la pelle n’importe quel ingrédient.
    J’attendais à la fin du film que l’on mixe la totalité avec un oeuf dessus et une boule de glace pour faire un milk shake.
    Please let’s get a simple cooking

    Babelfish translation:
    How can one make a similar dish? Which horror, it is a mixture, poor mixture, in which one adds to the shovel any ingredient. I waited at the end of film until one mixes totality with an egg above and a ball of ice to make a milk shake.

  • Drew the Moonlight Chef

    Watched this episode with two other guys in our data recovery lab. I thought our Apple Services manager was going to lick the screen!

    We’ve got an advantage here since we’re in Maryland, quite close to Pennsylvania Amish country, and have local weekend Amish markets. Their sausage is all-natural, reasonably priced, and tastes great. I’m going to pick some up this weekend and give your recipe a try. By day, I’m a meek, mild-mannered Data Recovery Technician, but nights and weekends I am “Chef Dad,” in our very own “crash test kitchen.” [Motto: “Kids at home, not only should you try this, but you should *sit down* and try this!]

    From our lab to yours, the InfoRescue guys say “Keep up the good work!”

  • Hello,

    Made this last night for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you.

    Instructions are very clear. (Ill admit to being one who does not always understand a cook books instruction.)

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