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[Cheap Eats]

A banger for your buck

on the cheap

One of the most common aspersions cast against us Brits — besides that we have bad teeth and a penchant for soccer hooliganism — is that, as a nation, we produce lousy food. Like all stereotypes, this notion is founded on ignorance. Who, after all, could fail to appreciate the great British sausage?

There can be few dishes more delicious than a steaming plate of bangers and mash. And I’m not talking about slinging a couple of breakfast links and a dollop of instant mash on a plate. I’m talking Tradition. Culture. It’s got to be done right. The banger must never be hot ’n’ spicy or knobbled with fat. The mash should be neither creamed nor, heaven forbid, whipped. The use of such exotic vegetables as asparagus and kale is strictly forbidden.

Oddly enough, the best place to get true-Brit bangers-and-mash in Boston is a mere spud’s throw from the Italian-sausage vendors of Fenway Park — at Cornwall’s, in Kenmore Square. This English-style pub (recently relocated from its former site across the street) has learned the strange alchemy that can transform a plate of meat-and-two-veg into a culinary treasure. Cornwall’s also has a wide range of English ales — a banger just goes down better with a pint of London Pride. But it’s the food that counts.

The sausages at Cornwall’s are plump and juicy, with just a hint of herb to set off the flavor of the pork. The potatoes are plentiful and, more important, haven’t been mashed to death. The plate comes with a side of carrots and peas, and is topped off with a thick gravy. Just like my dear old mum used to make. And, at $9.50 ($7.95 lunch), it’s a lot cheaper than flying to London, where, in any case, many of our dear old mums have taken to dabbling in such European fare as escargot and schnitzel.

Cornwall’s is located at 654 Beacon Street, in Boston; call (617) 262-3749.

Issue Date: July 5-12, 2001