Worcestershire sauce (pronounced /ËˆwÊŠstÉ™ÊƒÉªÉ™ sÉ”Ës/ WOOS-tÉ™r-sheer saws), or Worcester Sauce (/ËˆwÊŠstÉ™ sÉ”Ës/ WOOS-tÉ™r saws) is a fermented liquid condiment flavouring used especially with grilled or barbecued meats. It is also used in cocktails and drinks.
First made at 68 Broad Street, Worcester, England, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the Lea & Perrins brand was commercialised in 1837 and has been produced in the current Midlands Road factory in Worcester since 16 October 1897. It was purchased by H.J. Heinz Company in 2005 who continue to manufacture and market ``The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce``, under the name Lea & Perrins, Inc., as well as Worcestershire Sauce under their own name and labelling. Other companies manufacture similar products, often also called Worcester Sauce, and marketed under different brands.//
A fermented fish sauce called garum was a staple of Greco-Roman cuisine and of the Mediterranean economy of the Roman Empire, and the use of some similar fermented anchovy sauces in Europe can be traced back to the 17th century. The Worcestershire variety became popular in the 1840s and is a legacy of the British rule of the Indian sub continent. Theories vary concerning its discovery or invention.
It may be ``Lord Marcus Sandys, ex-Governor of Bengal`` encountered it while in India under the Honourable East India Company in the 1830s and commissioned the local apothecaries to recreate it. However, author Brian Keogh concluded in his privately published history of the Lea & Perrins firm on the 100th anniversary of the Midland Road plant, that ``No Lord Sandys was ever governor of Bengal, or as far as any records show, ever in India.``
The Lord in question, whose identity was veiled by Messrs Lea and Perrins (who used to aver on the bottle's paper wrapping that the sauce came ``from the recipe of a nobleman in the county``) was Arthur Moyses William Sandys, 2nd Baron Sandys (1792â€“1860) of Ombersley Court, Worcestershire, Lieutenant-General and politician, a member of the House of Commons at the time of the legend. His given name was confused for that of his brother and heir, Arthur Marcus Cecil Sandys, 3rd Baron Sandys (1798â€“1863), in the story. The latter did not succeed to the title, however, until 1860, when the sauce was already established on the British market. The barony in the Sandys family (pronounced /ËˆsÃ¦ndz/ ``sands``) had been revived in 1802 for the second baron's mother, Mary Sandys Hill, so at the date of the legend, in the 1830s, ``Lord`` Sandys was actually a Lady. No identifiable reference to her could possibly appear on a commercially bottled sauce without a serious breach of decorum.
A version was published by Thomas Smith:
We quote the following history of the well-known Worcester Sauce, as given in the World. The label shows it is prepared ``from the recipe of a nobleman in the county.`` The nobleman may be Lord Sandys. Many years ago, Mrs. Grey, author of The Gambler's Wife and other novels, was on a visit at Ombersley Court, when Lady Sandys chanced to remark that she wished she could get some very good curry powder, which elicited from Mrs. Grey that she had in her desk an excellent recipe, which her uncle, Sir Charles, Chief Justice of India, had brought thence, and given her. Lady Sandys said that there were some clever chemists in Worcester, who perhaps might be able to make up the powder. Messrs. Lea and Perrins looked at the recipe, doubted if they could procure all the ingredients, but said they would do their best, and in due time forwarded a packet of the powder. Subsequently the happy thought struck someone in the business that the powder might, in solution, make a good sauce. The profits now amount to thousands of pounds a year.
The resulting product was so strong that it was considered inedible, and a barrel of the sauce was exiled to the basement of Lea & Perrins' premises. Looking to make space in the storage area a few years later, the chemists decided to try it again, discovering that the sauce had fermented and mellowed and was now palatable. In 1838 the first bottles of ``Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce`` were released to the general public.
According to historian and Herald for Wales, Major Francis Jones, 1908-1993, who attributed the introduction of the recipe to Captain Henry Lewis Edwardes 1788-1866. Edwardes, originally of Rhyd-y-gors, Carmarthenshire, was a veteran of the Napoleonic wars and held the position of Deputy-Lieutenant of Carmarthenshire. He is believed to have brought the recipe home after travels in India. The article does not say how the recipe found its way to Messrs Lea and Perrins.
Messrs Lea and Perrins, being John Wheeley Lea (research and product development) and William Perrins (finance), from their building in Broad Street, Worcester, ran by far the most important and successful chemist and druggist business in the county. They made their fortunes from manufacturing and selling the sauce. They built a new factory with railway access in Midland Road, Worcester and made various charitable donations to the city such as Perrins Hall in a Worcester School.
The ingredients of a traditional bottle of Worcestershire sauce sold in the UK as ``The Original & Genuine Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce`` are malt vinegar (from barley), spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, garlic, spice, and flavouring. The ``spice, and flavouring`` is believed to include cloves, soy sauce, lemons, pickles and peppers. Notes from the 1800s were found by company accountant Brian Keogh dumped in a skip, which he rescued. The documents are to be placed on display at the Worcester Museum. Apart from distribution for its home market, Lea & Perrins supplies this recipe in concentrate form to be bottled abroad.
Japanese Worcestershire sauce, often simply known as sÅsu (``sauce``), or UsutÄ sÅsu (``Worcester sauce``) is made from purees of fruits and vegetables such as apples and tomatoes, matured with sugar, salt, spices, starch and caramel. Despite this appellation, it bears moderate resemblance to Western Worcestershire sauce. SÅsu comes in a variety of thickness, with the thicker sauces looking and tasting like a cross between the original Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce.
There are variations according to flavour and thickness, and are often named after the foods they are designed to go with, such as okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce. These sauces, however, and others that are Worcestershire relatives are closer in taste to American barbecue sauce. These variants have become a staple table sauce in Japan, particularly in homes and canteens, since the 1950s. It is used for dishes such as tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), takoyaki, yakisoba, yaki udon, sÅsu katsudon and korokke.