Reviews

And Now for Something Completely Different: The Hot Sausage Company

I’ll preface this by saying that before coming to university, I was a vegetarian. Coming to university and sharing a house with nine different meat eaters as well as my partner being a meatoholic eventually made me take a nibble of some chicken. I swore to myself that from that day forward, I would only eat chicken. Why? Because I felt like I was holding onto some part of the vegetarian me. Of course I wasn’t though. I eventually branched out into different meats, some I loved and some I hated. The one meat I wasn’t particularly keen on was sausage. Maybe it was the videos I saw on how they’re made, I don’t know, but I was adamant to stay well away.

In Bath’s town, you pass numerous street stalls. One of these stalls is The Hot Sausage Company. If you’ve been to Bath then I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s hard to miss, not just because of the titillating name, but because it’s painted vibrantly red. Whenever I had a companion with my in town, we would have a little chuckle to ourselves whenever we would walk past it. To be honest, I still smile a little when I’m near it. There’s something quaint about the stall. Maybe it’s the colour or maybe it’s the fact that it’s squatting in a beautiful Georgian city. Despite this, I’ve lived in Bath for two years and never tried their food, despite the enticing name, until now.

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One day, after dragging my partner around Bath on the hunt for books we were both hungry. We walked past it when he turned us around and said he fancied one. I decided to go hungry. Sausage? Nope. I thought that nothing could compel me. However, he had smothered it in tomato sauce; my one weakness. I should say I have an odd obsession with the condiment (I often disgust my family on Christmas day by mixing it with gravy. Honestly, try it!). He held it up towards me and I, my eyes on that red sauce, almost instinctively opened my mouth and took a bite. It was delicious although it didn’t have any toppings. It consisted of the bun, the sausage and a whole lot of tomato sauce, but it was so flavoursome. The sausage was juicy and smoky. It certainly was a hot sausage temperature wise, but it also had a bit of spice to it. Not too much and not too little. I’m not too keen on overly spicy food so it was great for me. The bun was not at all stale; it was bouncy with a bit of flakiness on the edges. The sauce…well we’ve already established that I would be biased on that count, but it was perfect.

I can’t think of a negative to say about this company. Even the location is good being situated near Bath Abbey. I suppose the only thing to say about it really is that I’m not entirely sure when it opens. I’ve been in town on a weekday in the afternoon when there was no one manning the sausage hut. So if you go into Bath with a mission for some tasty sausage, you might end up disappointed.

On a final note, it should be mentioned that the staff were extremely friendly. I know some people won’t particularly care about this as long as the food is good, but if you’re like me then customer service matters. Not because I feel as though I’m superior, but I don’t like being treated as an inferior. I’ve been to establishments where it appeared that the staff hated their job and consequently you in return. It’s not a nice feeling. The Hot Sausage Company makes you feel welcome. They don’t just thrust a bun at you and tell you to clear out of the way.

I’ve made a few food reviews in the past and decided to start posting them. I’m sure many fellow book reviewers know that it’s essential to have snacks and food whilst reading…it’s hard work! That being said, if you’re in Bath with some serious stomach rumbles, I would suggest to you to get yourself a nice hot sausage. See their website linked below for details.

http://hotsausagecompany.com/

Carrie

 

Whenever I am asked what genre I prefer my mind instantly flits to horror and I say so, whilst thinking of Lovecraft’s The Rats in the Walls, or Poe’s The Raven, or Susan Hill’s The Small Hand. My questioner looks at me, the inevitable question approaching and I prepare myself for bookish embarrassment; “So you read Stephen King?” No. Not deliberately, his work was just never marked as a necessity on my reading list. I have seen glimpses of the odd film and know vaguely of the plots to some of his books but nothing other than that. I finally changed that this week when I picked up Carrie, but can I say King has truly lived up to his popularity?

This book was not my first choice to start with, having heard quite negative things, but nevertheless I thought I should at least try. It follows an unpopular girl, Carrie White, who has telekinesis, a rare genetic ability which enables her to manipulate the world around her with her mind. She is brought up by her strict, religious mother, Margaret White, who abuses Carrie until she is unable to take anymore. The book both follows both Carrie’s story and includes newspaper cuttings, the point of view of others, etc. which hint or even give away the plot. I found this exciting at first, but as the story progressed, the event of prom drawing closer, I felt as though less could have been included and the suspense would have still been there. The reader knows quite early on what happens to Carrie, but I would have liked to follow the story a little more without knowing the plot beforehand.

I have to also say I was deeply disturbed by this book, not by the plot or the characters, but of the numerous typos. There was a point at which I stared at the same sentence for a while wondering whether it was deliberate or not (in some cases, it is deliberate), but then I came across a phrase “so domething” and I came to the conclusion that many of the vast amount of typos and misspellings were not deliberate and thus even more disturbing. This may have been the copy I had, but for such a well-known book, should it be an issue?

I enjoy it when authors create characters you can really loath and Margaret White is certainly one of those. Early on in the book we are given a glimpse of Carrie as a young child, the opposite of her lonely older self. The mother is responsible for Carrie’s sad adolescence, using her faith to justify what was obvious child abuse. Margaret often locks her child in the closet if she judges something, such as being female, to be wrong. King does an excellent job of creating a character which is fun to hate so that we (or at least I am) are rooting Carrie to retaliate.

I also enjoyed the ending. Through the hints of the various newspaper article it is somewhat predictable, but I still liked it. Unfortunately, I cannot say too much on the subject, being that the release of spoilers is a crime which causes people to act in a Carrie-after-prom-like way.

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Being my first King book though, I did enjoy it, more than I thought I would given the negative reviews. I suppose due to the fact that I have not read any other of King’s books to compare it too, I did not judge it too hard and I will certainly make sure to read more by King in future.