Ah, merguez, merguez.

Can there be any more spicy titbit for human or pet than this spindly concoction of lamb and beef, fennel, sumac and garlic stuffed unceremoniously into a tube?

The word is unlikely to Arabic, and seems to come from that hotchpotch of North African dialects stretching from Siwa to Morocco.

The first time I tasted merguez I stood in the midst of violet lavender-fields, taking great wafts of the flowers’ scent on the breeze. I stood on top of the world in the French Alps next to my rough-hewn stone Heidi cottage equipped with swimming pool, which was, in turn, equipped with thirsty wasps.

Each night we’d fire up the barbecue as Toby the French farm collie watched appreciatively from a respectful distance. His name, actually, seemed to be To-beee. Digressing slightly, I expect his surname was Ornottobe.

We’d pop the merguez on and pop open a bottle of rose, Chateau Le Plonk, and we’d eat like wolves and then lean back in our French camping chairs with full glasses and gaze expansively and appreciatively across to the silo stores on the Plateau D’Albion.

Those, my friend, were the days.

And what should we espy in a Calais supermarket last week, but a packet of these sausages of the Gods?

We pounced on a packet and brought it home, and on our return it sat waiting for Maddie’s birthday in the fridge at Shrewsday Mansions.

Last night Phil fired up the chimenea with his customary singular focus and roasted the merguez using our old garden table for fuel.

Heaven. The smoke of good wood can only add to the charms of this wonderwurst. They were snapped up appreciatevely, all but one and a half.

One will be eaten today with salad, and voraciously enjoyed by its chef: who had plans for the half.

While we have arrived home, our little dog has not. Macaulay the loveable biohazard arrives home from a holiday with my sister in the New Forest in just an hour or two.

We can hardly contain ourselves.

There was no-one to walk yesterday; no-one to admonish for his excessive neighbour admonishment; no-one to roll his signature musk onto the brand new carpet.

In a gesture to absent shaggy friends, Phil took the little half sausage and parked it, together with a few doggie biscuits, in Macaulay’s bowl, ready for his arrival today.

My husband is brave, and takes risks on behalf of Β his wife and offspring. A merguez in Macaulay’s digestive system can only have regrettable consequences.

Nevertheless, there it lay in the bowl, a small sausagey tribute waiting patiently for the return of the wanderer.

Life was busy: we talked and sipped from glasses and munched.

And when I looked again, the merguez had moved.

No far: maybe a couple of feet. But it had upped sticks and taken itself out of Macaulay’s bowl, and sat at the threshold to the back garden, ready to make good its escape.

It did not look savoury. The context of such a sausage is all-important. One has to surround it with cous cous and the stunning colours of a good salad. Because it is not a graceful sight on its own: it is the pungent man-of-the-road of the wurstworld. To a human it resembles one thing and one thing only, and that thing is not a sausage.

So there it sat at the door, looking for all the world as if Macaulay had already returned and left us a present of our own.

“The merguez has moved!” I observed to the gathering at large.

We stared at it, as if to divine its purpose. It emanated innocence.

Phil replaced the merguez lovingly in his best friend’s bowl to await his return.

It was not until our friends had left and the children were upstairs in bed that we noted, once again, a mysterious change in the location of the merguez.

This time, it had travelled further: maybe three feet: and seemed to have developed a scheme to stay within these four walls despite the devouring monster which would surely come to claim it, sooner or later.

We considered, and we pondered, and we sipped our tea as the cat sauntered across our vision.

It could only be her.

Felix and Maddie are not dedicated to sausage logistics, but Kit Kat has always been a bit of an experimenter where these things are concerned.

But why drop it before she got to her destination, the cat bowl filled with biscuits which would complement the little wurst perfectly?

Who knows? It was probably too spicey, or too big, or quite possibly, being an eccentric old woman, she just got bored, and dumped it right there where her attention span ran out.

How the mighy have fallen: a glorious Gallic merguez ditched by a mog on a kitchen floor somewhere in England.

I expect Macaulay will deliver it from all uncertainty very soon indeed.


32 thoughts on “Merguez

  1. I’m sure Macauley will enjoy this morsel as soon as he gets home. I’ve had many a sausage and wurtz, but, never merguez. I’ll be on the lookout for it in our specialty shops, Kate.

  2. Thank you for a delicious laugh this morning! I have never heard of a merguez, and wonder if we even have them in the States. I’ll have to check into that. Sounds like you have had some wonderful holiday experiences and you vividly paint an exquisite picture. Hope your Macauley arrived home safely and appreciated your special offering!

  3. What a wonderful and delightful post!

    Each night we’d fire up the barbecue as Toby the French farm collie watched appreciatively from a respectful distance. His name, actually, seemed to be To-beee. Digressing slightly, I expect his surname was Ornottobe.

    I hope that Macauley enjoys his Merguez . . . and that the rest of you can live with the regrettable aftermath. πŸ˜†

  4. So you solved the Mystery of the Moving Merguez? Great, Kate, I was thinking it was a ghost until you mentioned Kit Kat! Like some of your other visitors, I’ve never heard of a merguez either, but I like the sound of them. I love spice food!

    1. Ghost stories I have a-plenty, Tom: but none of them have an interest in moroccan sausages πŸ˜€ Hmm, now you’ve set me thinking: I haven’t done a good ghostly yarn in a while…

  5. I do think I have tried Merguez – but I can’t recall when or where. Odd. But the name and visual is jogging a memory. A memory that obviously hasn’t fully jogged yet. πŸ˜‰

  6. You think it looks unsettling? Haggis, now THERE is something that looks unsetttling! This merguez (totally new word to me!) looks scrumptious.

    Now, Kit Kat – unless you saw her actually commit the deed, might not be the perpetrator of this “crime” against merguez. i’m thinking perhaps the ghost of dog(s) past. . .probably miffed because s/he never got a hunk of merguez in her/his bowl when s/he lived at Shrewsbury Mansion!

    BTW, was Mac suitably thankful? Thankful enough to fart his pleasure all about your lovely home?

  7. I was beginning to worry, ghosts? Ants (no that is England they are not such a pest there), poltergeists? and all the time a mog.

    Mine in the early hours of monday started fetching balls of wool carelessly left downstairs, carried them upstairs and then let them roll back down, leaving a tangle of wool on the staircase to trap and trip an unwary me in the dozey dawn.

  8. I had to laugh at this one. Sadly, my pup has no choice and is being raised vegan like her alpha. We were at a work picnic this weekend and the co-peeps were amazed when she didn’t snarf up a dropped, unattended burger on the grass. Different story if it were a dollop of nut butter ~

  9. I love merguez – the most memorable time we ate them was on a cold lunchtime picnic on a walk one Christmas Eve. I wrapped them in foil and put them an insulated bag in my rucksack. At lunch they were stuffed into split baguettes with lots of Dijon mustard and accompanied by a mug of mulled wine (transported in a thermos).

  10. Sounds delish but looks …. a little dodgey πŸ˜‰ I wonder if we get it over here? Shall be consulting my deli guru – could you have it as a breakfast sausage do you think?

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