[Sca-cooks] The origins of Worchestershire

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Feb 22 07:37:36 PST 2008

On Feb 22, 2008, at 10:08 AM, Christine Seelye-King wrote:

> Two guys walk into a steak house, and have their meat put in
> front of them with a bottle of Lea & Perrins.  They say "whort's dis  
> here
> sauce?"

I think I can honestly speak for everyone here when I say,


Just in case anyone cares, I believe the real deal (or rather, the  
real, official story, which may not be true) is that a minor English  
nobleman returned from India with a carefully-guarded recipe for a  
murri/katjep-type sauce. He handed the recipe to the local chemists in  
town, who made up several casks of the stuff per spec, and it was  
Officially Pronounced Awful and All Wrong by the minor nobleman, so  
the chemists were stuck with it. They may or may not have been paid,  
but they were left with the sauce in the store room and a copy of the  
recipe on the books. Then they went out of business, and the shop was  
sold to Lea and Perrin, chemists and partners. Some years later, Lea  
and/or Perrin were cleaning out the storeroom and there were all these  
barrels of funny-smelling brown stuff. They tasted it and thought it  
would go well with steak... certainly well enough to take a chance on  
bottling and selling the stuff.

Which reminds me, I keep wanting to make a batch of the Napoleon Sauce  
from the ~1870 Dick's Practical Encyclopedia of Receipts (which also  
includes recipes for Worcester Sauce, paint, perfumes, probably  
explosives of various kinds, alla kindsa good stuff). From my  
recollection of the Napoleon Sauce recipe, it's a concentrated,  
liquified, cucumber pickle relish: essentially modern tomato ketchup  
made with cucumbers, with the vinegar, sugar, spices, etc. I have a  
bunch of 19th-century recipes which call for it as an ingredient...


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