It’s not often you get to use sausage as a verb. But today, we’re going to do some serious sausaging- Bompas & Parr, Sausage Social
So, yesterday I went to a Sausage Social. Yes, you read right. A sausage social.
You’re probably wondering what the hell a sausage social is. This is a perfectly reasonable response, given that it’s not exactly everyday that sausage-admiration is accepted as a legitimate expression of art and design.
Embark on an epic sausage-sampling odyssey, where the flavours, aesthetics, cultures and stories of Taiwanese culinary culture collide with the UK’s, making for a truly multi-sensory night market.
So was the vision of this edible installation’s creators, English experience designers and culinary architects Bompas & Parr, who worked in collaboration with Taiwan’s Alice Wang Design.
And as we all found out, they meant it when they said “an epic sausage-sampling odyssey”. The event was basically an interactive shrine to hail the godliness of sausages. And we all got to try very, very odd sausage pairings (I must admit, I think the food was more conceptual than tasty!)
What was particularly interesting about the event was the fusion of Taiwanese and English culture. With both countries having their own take on sausages, the designers innovatively intertwined elements from both countries’ traditions in their exhibits.
The whole room was set up like a carnival of food stands and games, much like Shilin Market, the night market which served as the breeding ground for their sausage fixation. They were fascinated with Taiwan’s beloved “sausage in a sausage”, and their whacky idea was born.
Take for example, this game of “Sausage Gambling”.
In Taiwan, “sausage gambling” is an old game played at some sausage stands. You get the chance to roll dice in an attempt to gun for the ultimate prize- a free sausage or two. The designers combined this idea with a classic English game, Pass the Pigs, to make us try our hand at winning, you guessed it, a sausage.
But, why all the sausage love? Bompas & Parr explained that sausages are not only “a universal source of gustatory enjoyment”, but also “a medium for cross-cultural experimentation”.
This appreciation for the role the humble sausage plays may seem too far-fetched at first, but as my fellow-attendees and I were convinced of by the time we were (overly) stuffed with every-which-kind of sausage, it is rather a special food when you think about it.
Let’s break it down. Sausages are:
A) found in numerous countries worldwide
B) accessible to the masses due to their low price point
C) often a social food
D) able to be made with a variety of ingredients and flavors
E) fun to eat
F) 3-star innuendo material
As Bompas & Parr more eloquently put it:
As a universal food of pleasure, sausages have sprung up in all global cultures and represent the perfect tool for innovation, design and culinary experimentation, for while we are all different there is a commonality: we all love sausages
I also managed to have a chat to Bompas during the show, and asked him a few questions to get a further insight into their vision behind the event.
He told me how he thinks lots of design is dry, and that food is something that everyone can relate to. I suggested how using food as a medium allows for design to be more accessible, a comment which he wholeheartedly agreed.
Something interesting he brought up was the fact that everyone has an opinion about food- each of which are valid.
This event was without a doubt one of the most memorable I’ve ever been to, and certainly the most original. I had a ridiculous amount of fun in this bizarre land of sausages, and will now never look at a sausage the same way…
If you somehow you ever get the chance to go to a Sausage Social (or a Bompas & Parr event for that matter), go. It was equal parts fun and thought-provoking.
As someone who is increasingly conscious of recognising innovative design, I really appreciated the efforts that Bompas & Parr and Alice Wang and her team went to to achieve such a well-designed event.
From the thoughtful curation, to the little details like the sausage tickets and the hilarious sausage font used for the branding, it made me reflect on the skills it must take to ensure all the little elements which make up any design project end up working as a whole.
While a sausage is an odd thing to fixtate on, as you can see, it’s a vechile for starting a conversation- whether it be about design, food or cross-cultural relations.
Well, that’s the 101 on Sausage Socials.
..and just about enough sausage for me for at least a week.
Bummed that you missed out? (Don’t blame me- I mentioned it in my Taipei in July guide!).
You can catch the fantastic Edible Tales exhibition showing until August 13 at Songshan Creative Park. It’s an exhibition of thought-provoking food-themed design projects. A must for anyone interested in gastronomy or design. For more info, click here.
For more information about the food project, head to the official website.
And for more exciting design events each month, bookmark the World Design Capital Taipei’s site.