We must get to the bottom of the saveloy question.

In case you have not been following the saveloy adventure, here is the background: last year, when Sighkey came to visit us (she was in our hemisphere and decided to pop round), she taught us some thrilling New Zealand words, including “saveloy.” We, having so few sausages, thought that it was simply the Kiwi-a-go-go-land word for hot dogs.

In actuality, it is more complex than that. Using “saveloy” for hot dogs is like saying “Gruyere” for Kraft American Processed Cheese Food.

Here is a recipe for Battered Saveloys, which I think is what you would get in New Zealand if you asked for a hot dog. Except you must remember that when they say “tomato sauce” they mean ketchup. I think that the little cup of red stuff is ketchup — tomatoes and sugar and vinegar. They are not battered in the sense of being beaten up, but are dipped in batter and fried, which reminds me of the county fair food known as “corn dogs.” I have never eaten a corn dog, and I doubt I will ever batter a saveloy, but I think we in Hamburger-a-go-go-land could do this with hot dogs to get the feeling of it. Let me know if you try it.

Further research allows us to determine that saveloys are eaten in the UK as well, where one can buy them at a chippy (fast food restaurant?) along with chips (French fries?) and kebabs (which appear not to be shish kebab at all, as I had thought, but perhaps what we would call gyros). Oh, and fish, which seems to be what we would call “fish.” They define “saveloy” as a sausage, which seems accurate though odd. I mean, in Hamburger-a-go-go-land, I think most of us would agree that sausage is spiced ground meat, either Italian sausage, for pizza and pasta, or breakfast sausage, which may be either cylindrical (“link”) or disk-shaped (“patty”) by the time it gets onto the plate. Putting sausage meat into a casing is sometimes done, but not necessary. Describing a hot dog as a sausage gives us that “– Oh. Well, yeah, I guess it is” feeling that we get when someone describes an avocado as a fruit. That is American sausage (we do not say “sausages” here) nestling with the pancakes.

Not that saveloys are utterly unheard of in the U.S., because here is an 1871 recipe for it, published in New York. It sounds like a mild breakfast sausage, and nothing at all like a hot dog. Or frankfurter, which is not a hot dog in NZ, but something from which you can make hot dogs, or frankfurter sandwiches, which may well be what we would call hot dogs.

Now, to return to the British saveloy, I offer you Tasty-Bake, a British maker of sausages and saveloys. The “and” presupposes that saveloys are not properly sausages. Nothing in the picture I have linked you to is recognizable to me as a sausage (they all look like hot dogs).

And here is a New Zealand company which offers numerous things that look like hot dogs but in fact are called things like “breakfast sausage” and “white pudding,” which would really be confusing for us Americans, and “frankfurter,” and , yes, “saveloy.” The saveloys are the reddest ones. I think this may be significant. There are cocktail saveloys, which may be the same as the Australian Cheerios. To the right you can see American Cheerios.

I think that “frankfurter” and “hot dog” are interchangeable in the U.S., the choice depending on where you come from. There is also “wiener,” which has comical overtones where I live, but might be in common use elsewhere for all I know. Around here people also put bratwurst in a bun, especially in football season (football also being a different game from what the word means in NZ), when local men may offer you “brats and dogs” from their grills, which I think the Kiwis might call a barbie, which is a doll in the US.

Bratwurst, like kielbasa, chorizo, and andouille, is among the foreign sausages widely enjoyed in the US. What kinds of foreign sausage you find in the local grocery store depends entirely on the part of the country you are in and where the local people’s ancestors came from. Saveloys are not among the popular foreign sausages of America.

Below left  you will find a picture of a hot dog.  You can put onions, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut, or chili on a hot dog, but I am quite sure that all Americans would find this a recognizable picture of a hot dog. If you wanted one of these in New Zealand, perhaps you would need to ask for a frankfurter sandwich. Sighkey will confirm or disconfirm my hypothesis, I feel sure. You can also have tomatoes on it if you want, but in New Zealand you will have to call them “to-mah-toes” in order to be understood.

If our hot dog is merely a frankfurter and not a saveloy, I will have to give up calling them saveloys. (Not that it arises often, because you know how much saturated fat is in those things.) I will not take up calling them frankfurters, though. In my region, that sounds oddly formal.

I think we are now prepared for sausages when next we make a round-the-world trip to English-speaking countries. In Japan, of course, hot dogs (or whatever they call them) are used to create cute little animal sculptures, as seen on this page, because Japan is absolutely tops in cuteness. I have already been informed that New Zealanders do not make cute animals with saveloys. I don’t know about the Brits. I do know that they put prawns and baked beans in baked potatoes, so really who knows what they might do?