If you stop and think about sausages for a second, they are pretty strange. A length of animal intestine, stuffed with spices and ground meat, cooked to brown perfection: How did anyone think to try that, and why? Most historians agree that sausages were invented by people from a region called Mesopotamia, in what is now the Middle East, around 4,000 years ago. However, the modern sausage called "salami" first appeared in written history in the fifth century BC. The name is believed to come from the ancient Greek city of Salamis, near Cyprus. Then again, the word "sausage" itself is from the Latin word salsus, meaning "salted," and was coined during the Roman Empire. The humble sausage once fulfilled a vital role in peoples' lives. Before the invention of refrigeration, a common way to stop food from spoiling in hot countries was to pack it in a casing with salt and hang it somewhere to dry. This meant that food could be preserved for a long time and eaten during times of food shortage. On top of that, sausages make use of every last bit of meat—a quality that would have been important at a time when food was not so easy to come by.