Our nearby produce stand displays bulk tamarind pods close to checkout. On an impulse I tossed a couple of pods into my basket thinking I’d put one of the bulging beans into a stir-fry, get the essence out of it, fish it out and have its nice flavoring.
Worcestershire Sauce adds that “little something” to just about every cuisine. Used Worcestershire bottles have turned up in far-away shipwrecks and ancient kitchen middens throughout the world.
Originally an Indian condiment, a Lord Marcus Sandys, reportedly of Indian nobility, brought the sauce from India to the UK. Sandys approached chemists Lea and Perrins asking them to prepare a fresh batch of the Indian concoction. They did. It was fiery and no one liked it. They put it aside. Much later, they tried it again and found the mixture tasted much better, mellower. They liked it! On the spot, chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins purchased the secret sauce from the Lord.
By 1823, Lea & Perrins decided on a partnership to market their new sauce. They learned from experimentation the sauce needed an aging period in wooden casks, also the necessity to shake containers before using. Soon they had several branch factories in the UK. By 1837 they began to produce the dark brown, tasty liquid commercially.
U.S. grocery stores carry some 20 different, non-original brands of WS. Other imitation names are “British Lion” and “Empress of India.” However, only Lea and Perrin earned the right to use the terms, “Original and Genuine.” Known ingredients are TAMARIND from India, African chili peppers and ANCHOVIES from Mediterranean waters. The original never used artificial sweeteners, coloring or additives. Continue reading →