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sausage

sausage, food consisting of finely chopped meat mixed with seasonings and, often, other ingredients, all encased in a thin membrane. Although sausages were made by the ancient Greeks and Romans, they were usually plain and unspiced; in the Middle Ages people began to use the various spices and meats that led to the modern sausage. Many of the sausages that became famous were named for the localities where they were first made: the frankfurter in Frankfurt, Germany; the bologna in Bologna, Italy; the genoa salami in Genoa, Italy. Black pudding, an ancient dish in England and Scotland, was made of oatmeal, suet, and hog's blood. White pudding was suet with toasted oatmeal. Sausages are of two types, dry and wet, according to whether the casing is filled with fresh (wet) or cooked (dry) meat. Pork sausage is an example of the wet. Dry sausages are made from fresh meats and curing substances, and then smoked (e.g., pepperoni). Salami, most common in Italy and Germany, contains beef and pork and is highly seasoned. The large bologna sausage is of veal and pork and is smoked. Frankfurters and wienerwursts are small, smoked varieties containing lean pork and beef. Sausage is usually packed in casings made either of the cleaned and salted intestines of the slaughtered animals or of synthetic cellulose.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

caffeine

caffeine (kăfēn') [key], odorless, slightly bitter alkaloid found in coffee, tea, kola nuts (see cola), ilex plants (the source of the Latin American drink maté), and, in small amounts, in cocoa (see cacao). It can also be prepared synthetically from uric acid. While relatively harmless, it is the most commonly used mind-altering drug in the world. When used in moderation, caffeine acts as a mild stimulant to the nervous system, blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine and resulting in a feeling of well-being and alertness. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and urination and stimulates secretion of stomach acids; excessive intake can result in restlessness, insomnia, and heart irregularities. The effects of caffeine vary from person to person, as people excrete it at different rates. Physical dependence and unpleasant symptoms upon withdrawal (headache, fatigue, depression) are common in regular caffeine users.

See B. A Weinberg and B. K. Bealer, The World of Caffeine (2001).