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Bangers and Mash

Meals

Roast or grilled sausages served with mashed potato and (usually) onion gravy.

'Sausage and Mash' is known at least since the end of the 19th Century - both Dickens and Jerome K Jerome mention the dish - but the origin of bangers for sausages is decidedly obscure. The commonplace story that incautiously-cooked sausages can explode with a bang is plainly nonsense, because they don't. A more likely source is 'banger' to mean "anything very large in proportion to the rest of its kind", a use given in John Lambton's 1825 Glossary of Northcountry Words, noted elsewhere, and said by the time of The English Dialect Dictionary seventy years later to be by then "in general dialectic use". In this way 'bangers and mash' makes sense, but that precise phrase doesn't seem to appear in print until Digger dialects: a collection of slang phrases used by the Australian soldiers of 1919, and not in England until Monica Dickens' novel Flowers on the grass of 1949 (OED)


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