When we hear the term ‘pig in a blanket’, we know that it is food time; but depending on where we are, the type of food that we might get – could be extremely and surprisingly diverse.
For example, in the United States, the term would usually name hot dogs in croissant rolls. Yet, it could generally refer to any type of sausage wrapped in some dough, or even to cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and ground meat.
In Mexico, we will naturally find the sausages wrapped in tortilla; and in the UK – there won’t be any type of bread dough at all, as the sausages will be simply wrapped in bacon and typically served for Christmas dinner along a turkey.
And while the British pigs in blankets are not covered in dough, it is actually where the appetizer was invented, as according to historical records, British field workers used to consume a nourishing sandwich-like snack of dough stuffed with meat as early as the 17th century.
There is a hypothesis that the delicious snack is actually an Asian creation, claiming that different Asian cultures have culinary traditions of putting fish into pastry rolls, which were later copied by the Anglo-Saxons, naturally replacing the fish with red meat.
Regardless of where the snack was actually invented and of all its regional differences, pigs in blankets are usually served as hors d’oeuvre, meant to be eaten in one or two bites.
And while the English-speaking world accepts that the first modern recipe for pigs in blankets, as we know them today, was published in only 1957, in Betty Crocker’s Cooking for Kids; the term was already in use a century earlier.
At the time, the term was in use in the US as synonymous to angels on horseback, where both poetic phrases named the fancy appetizer of oysters served wrapped in strips of bacon.
With the first written record to be found in New York Daily Tribune from 1882: “Oyster Blanket— This is sometimes called in the country ‘pig in a blanket’”.
While angels on horseback was firstly used in print in 1900, in Sarah Grand’s Babs: “Angels on Horseback, now—those delicious little morsels of oysters rolled in bacon, and served on crisp toast”.
The first mention of sausage, as an ingredient of pigs in blankets, comes from 1926, when the Wise-crack dictionary of George H. Maines and Bruce Grant defined the phrase as: “Pig in a blanket, sausage in a roll.”