The foundation of having a fermented fish sauce in cuisine goes back to the Greco-Roman period and was a featured staple of the Roman Empire. Pliny the Elder even included recipes in his texts from the fourth and fifth century. The use of sauces that are similar to Worcestershire sauce can even be traced back to the 17th century in much of Europe. What we think of as the modern sauce that is still used today comes from two chemists: John Lea and William Perrins.
You probably know their creation better as Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.
Why Was an Official Worcestershire Sauce Created?
As the story goes, these two chemists were requested by Lord Sandys, a local nobleman, to duplicate a recipe that he’d acquired after traveling through Bengal. Lea and Perrins duplicated the recipe and made up their first batch of sauce. The results were less than encouraging. The taste of the sauce was so bad that they just left the jars of the first creation in their cellar. They were soon forgotten about.
A few years later, the two chemists happen to stumble upon the jars a forgotten sauce one day and decided to take a second look at it. When they opened them up, they realize that the aging process of Worcestershire sauce turn something that was terrible into something that was wonderful. It was not long after that these two men began bottling there combination of seasonings and vinegar into a new sauce that was coveted all across Europe.
By 1839, Worcestershire sauce was in high demand. An entrepreneur named John Duncan, who came from New York City, ordered a small quantity of the sauce to try. In just a few short years, Duncan had to import massive amounts of the sauce to keep up with American demand. Now, almost 170 years later, the sauce is still one of the most popular condiments that is on store shelves.
What Is In Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce?
The Worcestershire sauce might be 170 years old, but only a chosen few actually know what is in the sauce. Many imitators have come along, but none have been able to truly duplicate the original recipe that was originally abandoned because it was so terrible. Today this sauce is available in over 75 countries and is a key ingredient to make a classic cheese on toast. It also is a good soy sauce substitute, is a favorite dipping sauce in the Asia-Pacific region, and can boost a hamburger to new flavor levels like nothing else.
Lea and Perrins might have been chemists who experimented with a lot of things, but they are known for one product only: an outstanding Worcestershire sauce that makes food taste great. It’s versatile, symbolizes a rich heritage, and is a time honored family tradition and households around the world. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying the Worcestershire sauce from Lea and Perrins, then you’re missing out on one of the best food inventions of all time.