How chorizo became a British staple

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how chorizoOpen the nation’s fridges and what do you find? Alongside the ubiquitous two-pinter of semi-skimmed, crumb-infested butter and fast-ageing bag of carrots you will, as likely as not, discover a pack of chorizo sausage.

One of a number of food products that has crept into people’s lives by stealth, it is a symbol of how far we have come from the dark, ration-book days of our parents or grandparents, when a fridge itself was a symbol of jet-age affluence.

Today, asked by Olive magazine what product, unheard of 10 years ago, they could not live without, 42 per cent of people named the paprika-infused, spicy Spanish sausage – a key staple that can enliven any child’s dull lunchbox or rescue a miserable-looking stir fry.

I can remember the days of struggling to track down chorizo for a recipe I wanted to try out. But I can also remember my mother in the late Eighties, on holiday in Scotland, having to go to the chemist to buy olive oil to make a salad dressing.

Hummus, prosecco, anchovies, olives, even garlic, were items of unimaginable exoticism a generation back, ingredients viewed with suspicion by many consumers – probably proof of being a Britain-hating Marxist, or certainly the sort of bounder who’d pass the port to the right.

Now, thanks to the rise of package holidays and the ceaseless, rolling cooking programmes on television, this continental fare is part of our daily diet. The easyJet generation who grew up with Jamie telling them to tear and share is more likely to have squash and ricotta rotolo than Heinz ravioli in its shopping baskets.

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