A Short History of Worcestershire Sauce

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Worcestershire sauce has its roots in India, but was actually created by accident in its namesake town of Worcester, England in 1835. As the story goes, Lord Marcus Sandy had returned home to England to retire after successfully governing Bengal, India for many years. He so worcestershire_sauce_03missed his favorite Indian sauce that he commissioned drug store owners John Lea and William Perrins to come up with a reasonable facsimile.

The original intent of the chemists was to keep some of the batch to sell in the store, but the fish and vegetable mixture had such a strong odor that they decided otherwise and stored it in the cellar. It lay forgotten for two years, until it was rediscovered during a clean-up mission. The batch had aged into a wonderfully flavored sauce which was bottled and quickly became a hot item with customers.

worcestershire_sauce_01Lea and Perrins successfully branched out by convincing stewards on British passenger ships to include it on their dining table set-ups.

It soon became a British staple, primarily as a steak sauce, and further emigrated worldwide. The guarded recipe basically remains the same. However, the advertising no longer purports to “make your hair grow beautiful.”

Text from about.com

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17 thoughts on “A Short History of Worcestershire Sauce

  1. Sandhya says:

    What an interesting read! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. kunstkitchen says:

    I used to have this in my cupboard and couldn’t do without it. what a good reminder.

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  3. Funny how an Indian sauce ended up with a famous English name and flavour. I never knew this before!

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    • tidiousted says:

      I’ve never thought of that, but the British took to Indian food the moment they set foot there. The British kitchen has assimilated much from the Indian, kedgeree and mulligatawny soup for instance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, yes, I see. I didn’t know Mulligatawny originated from there. I don’t usually associate the English with spicy food but now I know better!

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        • tidiousted says:

          It takes some time to see it. I’ve lived 5 years and before that I believed that British food was dull and bland because that is what one is told. But i discovered that that was not true.

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          • So I have more to discover about British food it seems. I guess Australian food must have had that reputation in the late twentieth century, as it followed the British model of meat and three veg meals, but the multicultural Australia has definitely changed that. I was surprised for example to find that we have such things as Halloumi on our regular supermarket shelves, and that this is something that is rare and unheard of in places like New York, where one would imagine everything is available!! The Greeks/Italians and Turkish/Lebanese have added so many more flavours to our cooking here in the same way Indian flavours must have enhanced British palettes! Yay for that !

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            • tidiousted says:

              I suppose that all the people coming from the British colonies have had a great impact on the British kitchen too.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, whether this was anticipated or wanted, it has happened, and I think in Australia at least it has contributed immensely to the diversity of foods on offer. We have so much choice now, but the downside is, we have so much choice in takeaway food. Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan, Turkish, Japanese, Malaysian, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, as well as British, European and American…
                When newly arrived immigratns can’t find work due to language issues, they set up a business, usually something they know well, like their home grown cuisine. Years down the track, this develops into a full blown restaurant/takeaway cuisine.

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