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HomeLifestyleFood & RecipesSay it with sausage: The mystery of the M&S Love Sausage

Say it with sausage: The mystery of the M&S Love Sausage

There’s something of a Valentine’s Day underdog knocking about in one of the nation’s favourite supermarkets. It’s understated, often ridiculed, and usually overlooked. Lesser suitors will opt for more classic gifts for capitalism’s romance-oriented holiday: chocolates, roses, maybe even jewellery. But no, they are all missing a trick. The real, romantic gift. The one your significant other has been dreaming about all year, counting down the days ’til it hits the shelves. It’s juicy, slightly sexualised, and offers a century’s worth of protein. It’s sure to get you lucky on the morning of the 14th, so strong is its aphrodisiacal power. It’s The M&S Love Sausage.

I stumbled upon the mincemeat-heavy apparition while single in 2019 and couldn’t ignore the temptation. It was like some supernatural pull tugging me towards the checkout. I walked out with my M&S bag swinging triumphantly. I am a strong, independent woman! I can treat myself to my own love sausage! If you can’t show self love on this day of all days, when can you? And what better way to do it than by annihilating your insides with a nuclear concoction of truffled sausage meat, drooping bacon and the optional extra of eggs?

(Molly Codyre)

I must admit I had high expectations for the love sausage. I am an enormous fan of pigs in blankets and what is the love sausage but an enormous pig in an enormous blanket given a little bit of a Cupid-approved makeover? The slightly pallid appearance is really not that off putting – what sausage generally looks appetising before being cooked? No one ever looks at a raw Cumberland and goes “ooh, some minced phallic offcuts?! Drool!” The love sausage really does not need to be any different. I did, however, choose to forgo the addition of eggs. That is where I draw the line. I am not a bodybuilder. The heaviest lifting I’ve done in recent memory is trying to help lift a flatpack chest of drawers. I do not need that much protein.

Like most things about Valentine’s Day, it was an almighty letdown. It somehow came out of the oven looking even more flaccid than before it went in. The detailed wrapping of the bacon meant it had achieved around 20 per cent crispness, the rest flapping about like soggy cardboard. The truffle flavour of the sausage was pungent, and not in a good way. It created a sort of sulphuric note in the meat, which had itself failed to achieve any kind of distinction between said floppy cardboard bacon thanks to its tightly coiled outer layer. Worst of all, the heart shape emerged looking a little like how I imagine my blood-pumping organ looked after two years of online dating: wonky, slightly broken and more than a little over it. All in all, it was about as pleasant of an experience as the time the guy I was seeing dropped off flowers on Valentine’s Day and then went to a party and kissed another girl.

(Molly Codyre)

Three years later, by some stroke of god, the love sausage is still in circulation. Every year it pops up in Marks and Spencer’s like some ex who can’t take a hint. Why? Who is buying it? Is anyone being seduced by its mushy depths? Are extraordinary levels of protein some kind of turn-on I’ve been missing out on? Maybe I have been, because as it turns out, the sausage makes a splash: 33,000 packets were sold in 2020. That’s 4,700 a day. “Customers couldn’t wait to get their hands round one,” says the M&S press release.

It is, of course, humorous and rife with innuendos. But when the final product is so desperately unappealing, it does feel a little like the place where romance goes to die. And, perhaps crucially, I can’t imagine being in any way inclined to engage in any kind of romantic activity with the love sausage doing the very opposite of love to my insides. It has outlived my singledom, it has survived the pandemic and it seems to show no signs of slowing its relentless campaign to ruin romantic trysts everywhere, one faux-truffled bite at a time.

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