Article 19: Toronto's Sad Disappearing Sausages


There's been a sad disappearance in Toronto: hanging sausages. At a popular Portuguese butcher on Dundas Street there used to be dozens of different kinds of marvelously flavorful cured sausages hanging above the meat counter. Now they are gone. What's happened? One employee let me in on the secret: the city health inspector made them take them down. The health inspector thought that hanging the sausages in a public place that was not guaranteed to be below a certain regulated and recorded temperature was potentially unsafe. According to the employee this has been happening to all the Portuguese and ethnic butcher shops that had hanging sausages. But, the employee said, why aren't all the sausages in St. Lawrence Market taken down? They let them keep them for the tourists, he says, raising a conspiratorial eyebrow. The employee showed me the sausages that they still sold - only two or three varieties of uncooked sausage, in the fridge. When he looked at them he shook his head. Real sausages aren't supposed to be in the fridge, he says, it's too cold and too humid, it ruins them. As I left the store I felt very sad that I would no longer be able to bite into a rich tangy sausage, and I regretted not buying more of them in the past and eaten them right in front of that health inspector's face. Things like this are all too typical in Toronto, where health inspectors and bureaucrats and politicians of all stripes are always casting their credentialed and rationalistic aspersions on things that have proved wise and good-hearted for generations. Over regulation is why we don't have street food, we can't drink in parks, restaurants need to pay to have patios, backyard chickens are banned, barbers can't cut clients hair from their homes, and even buskers and protests need licenses. And now good sausages are gone from Toronto. What else will disappear before we decide instead to ban the inspectors?

--David Stokes