Sausages have always been a key to some of my keenest moments of childhood nostalgia. They were a delicacy, tasty heavenly tubes of processed meat that signalled hope and renewal.
If you went into the fridge and found them, you knew Papa and Mum had been paid. Their presence delineated the end of the month, the beginning of another month, and with that, a renewed optimism that everything was going to be okay. They were a symbol of financial security. We will not be kicked out of the house, we will stay in school, we will have food, like sausages!
We would have them for supper on Saturdays with chips. This was only possible because we had enough oil and cooking gas to fry the chips and sausages in. Chips and sausages. It was one of my childhood dreams to eat them to my fill. I never seemed to get enough.
If we so happened to carry any leftovers for lunch the following day, I felt affable and unlimited. I could do anything. Anything was possible. Chips was rich people’s food, the food of gods. It was what the way better off kids in school had for lunch everyday.
It is only when I became an adult I realized that in itself was a problem. Most likely, it was a reflection of parents too busy, and moneyed, to take the time to cook a healthy meal for their children. It occurred to me later that some of those kids had yellowish hair, a symptom of kwashiorkor.
As time went on and my parents became more secure, sausages stopped having such a heavy hold over us. For my youngest sister, sausages are a matter of course. They have always been available. You eat them whenever you want to. You do not have to wait for weekends or the end of the month when Papa and Mum were flush with cash, well, as flush as a lecturer and a high-school teacher could be.
Still, today when I smell sausages frying, when I see them glistening in a dish, sizzling with artificial flavour, I am engulfed in a calm. Hope. Optimism renewed. I am eating sausages. Things cannot be bad.