Annas Guide for Ex-Patriates on Visits Home, No.7: Youll Want to Make Sure You Fulfill Your Lapsed Sausage Quota

That sounds rude. It isnt. There must be another way of saying it. Plug your gaping sausage hole? No. Fill the void a lack of good meat quality cylindrical products have left you with? Again? Man, there is really no phrase for that that doesnt sound dirty. Weird.

Being away from home for an extended amount of time, its likely that there are certain foodstuffs you might get a little obsessive about not being able to get. As those with long memories or long concentration spans might remember, squash was one of mine. Not the vegetable, the juice: and certainly not the juice OF the vegetable, which is wrong and weird and only served in the kind of cafes where the serving staff have their glossy straight hair malformed into dreadlocks and rub rocks on their armpits because deodorant is apparently too representative of evil corporations and societys unreasonable demand that people packed into small urban spaces should consider not smelling bad where at all possible.

I discovered I could get squash if I wanted to. One of those evil sweet-smelling corporations deliver all manner of groceries now as well as books and dvds and those other types of evil things. You can get beans from them too: proper baked beans of the kind that comfort a person when they are sad and need some manner of non-too-fancy substance on toast. Of course, you pay a ridiculous amount for ex-patriate goods, and after a while, the novelty of being able to get them weighs up against the pain of having to pay a premium for them (because lets face it: theyre ONLY squash and beans. Or you could spend your money on something local and cheaper and yummy: not a hard decision).

But the perfect sausage proved elusive. We have tried a goodly number of sources and not managed to find anything like a good, handmade cumberland or lincolnshire sausage. There are many german and german-descendants making more-than-decent bratwurst which are also lovely, but thick of skin and nice with pickles and sauerkraut and so solid in texture that you could probably take out a large mammal from a short distance with a mediocre aim and a girly throw. Theyre good, in their own way, and they must be some source of comfort to ex-pats of german extration, and there are many. But they arent the sausages I was looking for. Never. There are also hot dogs, of course, but lets let those go unmentioned, as unmentionable as they mostly are.

So on coming back to the UK for a three week trip, it was a basically a hunt for the mighty sausage for me, homesickness-quenching-wise. That and a couple of particular meals from particular restaurants that I couldnt imagine being within 500 miles of and NOT ordering.

So the particular meals at the particular places were dutifully done, one being a brunch in our favourite cafe in Brighton that had the pleasing knock-on effect of making us feel like moving back there would be a thing that we would be perfectly ok doing (its a mighty breakfast indeed that can promise future happiness at 6000 miles remove. Respec) The other was a meal at pizza express, taken on my own on a rainy night in Glasgow with a glass of white wine and a book, and found to be quite so disappointing and unable to match up to nostalgia that it had the pleasing knock-on effect of creating one less thing to miss when Im in San Francisco.

Sausages? Yes. I found sausages. I found sausages in sausage sandwiches, in full breakfasts, crowning piles of mashed potato and nestling in batter. Some of the sausages were very bad. They were a nasty pink, flavourless or textureless, or saturated with inedible oil reserves and containing something that you hoped was gristle, because it was the least horrendous possibility you could imagine.

But there were enough good sausages to satisfy. At peoples barbeques, reputable sausage-dealerships and some other of those Brightonian cafes I will now crave instead of stupid Pizza Express (seriously, Pizza Express people, youre diluting a perfectly good brand and also flagging up your low-calorie options in the worst possible way. Stop it). Sausages remain one of the food things I have missed the most, and are likely to remain so.

Well, and beans. You cant have too many beans. I noticed a worrying trend while over there, by the way, for full breakfasts to not come with very many beans, with inferior beans or, worst of all, with no beans. NONE.

Seriously, the second best breakfast I had while over there was at the Isle of Mull hotel in Craignure, when I was presented with a breakfast buffet, and came away with a rack of granary toast, and a single, good local sausage floating in an entire SEA OF BEANS that took up the rest of the generously sized plate. Brilliant breakfast. Brilliant.

So what was my point, again? Ah yes. As someone living in Away and returning for a visit after having plenty of time to get homesick, you will most likely find yourself fixating on one or more particular foodstuffs that have taken on an importance out of all proportion with their level of gourmetishness (unless they are sausages you were fixated with, in which case you generally will find them to be just as perfect a culinary creation as you ever could have imagined or remembered).

Most importantly, you will want to ensure that you have stocked the cupboards and the freezer with a high proportion of healthy, fibre-filled foods and sketched out at least a preliminary exercise regime for your return to your current home in the land of FarAway. Because you may – and this is purely hypothetical, of course – you may be about the size of a house when you return. Accumulated homesickness and a punch-gut full of jetlag are, it turns out, two of natures headiest appetite stimulants.