Since its invention in England in 1835, Worcestershire sauce has been a staple in culinary history. It gives French onion soup more flavour depth, red beans and rice more spiciness, and pasta sauce more body. Furthermore, without it, a proper Bloody Mary cannot be made. But how did this popular sauce originate?
One of the things that's in 98 percent of kitchens is the Worcestershire sauce. Maybe the bottle is brand-new. It may be six years old. However, it's probably present regardless of age. It can be found in marinades, stews, Caesar salads, meat roasts, and even cocktails. It's possible that you've witnessed the amazing procedure used to make Worcestershire sauce. But have you ever wondered how the widely used condiment came to be? As we go back in time to learn the history of Worcestershire sauce, get comfortable, strap yourself in, and enjoy the journey.
What Is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire is a fermented sauce that gives savoury foods a tart and umami taste. An experiment gone wrong gave rise to this thin, dark sauce with hints of cherry and mustard colours in England. Whoever manufactures this condiment determines what goes into it. Vats of entire red onions (9 months) and garlic cloves (18 months) are fermented in the Lea & Perrins version.
While Americans use a recipe created with distilled white vinegar, the United Kingdom employs barley malt and spirit vinegars. Some businesses use onion and garlic powders instead of soaking their products thoroughly. What is the recipe's secret ingredient? Decomposing sardines or anchovies, heavy with salt. Salt, cloves, tamarind, pepper, and molasses are possible additional components.
What Does It Taste Like?
Similar to soy sauce or fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce is renowned for having a punchy umami flavour, which is that intensely savoury quality that you want to add to everything. Anchovies are the source of this Worcestershire sauce.
The sauce gives a depth of flavour to a variety of meals and has been described as acidic, salty, and sweet. The sauce can be overpowering when consumed by itself, but when used sparingly to enhance sauces, soups, or meats, Worcestershire offers a depth of flavour that unifies the savoury and sweet elements of a meal.
The History Of Worcestershire Sauce
Although Worcestershire sauce's origins are in India, it was unintentionally developed in the English town of Worcester in 1835. The Lea & Perrins corporation claims that after successfully ruling Bengal, India for many years, Lord Sandys—whose identity is disputed—returned home to England to retire. He was missing his favourite Indian sauce so much that he hired William Perrins and John Lea, proprietors of pharmacy stores, to create an acceptable imitation.
The fish and vegetable combination had such a strong smell that the chemists opted against storing it in the shop and instead kept part of the batch to sell in the cellar. It was found again after being overlooked for two years during a cleanup effort. Once the batch matured, it developed into a delicious sauce that was bottled and rapidly gained popularity among consumers.
Lea & Perrins made a successful foray into the market by persuading British passenger ship stewards to incorporate it into their dinner table arrangements. It quickly spread around the world and was a mainstay in Britain, mostly used as a steak sauce. The bottles are still wrapped in paper, just as they were in the beginning, to prevent breakage while at sea. The first commercially bottled condiment to reach America was Worcestershire sauce, which made its way to New York in 1839.
The formula that is guarded essentially stays the same. The commercial, nevertheless, no longer claims to "make your hair grow beautiful." The name "Worcestershire sauce" can be used to refer to any sauce that is similar because the firm lost the ability to trademark it in 1876.
Worcestershire Sauce Today
Variations on the traditional sauce are abundant these days. Rather than British malt vinegar, the American version includes white vinegar along with molasses, chilli pepper essence, onions, and garlic. Dark beer, orange juice, ginger, and mustard powder may all be found in homemade variations. So much as the true nature of Worcestershire sauce is still unknown, so is the source of its deep brown colour.