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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That Lea & Perrins...What a Fish-Pickle.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% sure "British pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins introduced Worcestershire Sauce on August 28, 1837." I suppose it could be so considering the splashes of history I soaked up at the Lea & Perrins website.

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce was first created by the Worcester chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins. They devised the recipe in the 1830's when Lord Sandys - a nobleman of the area - was eager to recreate an exciting taste he had acquired on his travels to Bengal.

When Lea & Perrins was first created, it wasn't to their liking and was set aside and forgotten about. It wasn't until the barrels were rediscovered many months later that the taste had mellowed into what we know and love as Worcestershire Sauces. To this day, the ingredients are allowed to 'mature' for 18 months before being blended and bottled in Worcester. Only a lucky few know the exact recipe.

Since I happen to have some rather cool Lea & Perrins recipe books waiting patiently to be shared, and since those recipes books also happen to contain some more in depth history about the creators of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, I'll just go with the "source"!

We all know Worcestershire Sauce is an essential ingredient in a Classic Bloody Mary but, What's Inside Worcestershire Sauce? According to rumors, it's a secret recipe that is closely guarded. (Right up there with those soda people I suppose:) We, however, have a pretty accurate list of ingredients right from the "source".

Do the anchovies surprise you? I must admit, they were a bit of a revelation to me, at first. But then, I remembered an article I read about Garum. Maybe the Roman sauce was more like the modern day Worcestershire Sauce?

Whatever the case, there's always a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce in my fridge. As a matter of fact, I can't even imagine what my favorite dish of sauteed mushrooms would taste like without it! It seems, Worcestershire Sauce was attractive to the opposite sex back in the 50s. Just look at this book, Dishes Men Like offered by Lea & Perrins in 1952.

"If you're curious about the story of this zesty easy-to-use Lea & Perrins Sauce men seem to prefer above all others, here's how it started..."

It has been my experience that when it comes to the world of spices and seasonings, a romantic story usually sells. Of course, there is much debate as to whether there ever was a Governor of Bengal who hoarded the recipe for delight or its weight in gold but, apparently, the story managed to add a nuance of flavor and, a quick Pick-Me-Up too:)

The Lea & Perrins Exciting Ideas Cookbook is undated but, if I had to guess, I would say it was probably published sometime in the 70s. It is also the only booklet of the three that has recipes in color.

Years ago, Lea & Perrins introduced Lea & Perrins White Wine Worcestershire Sauce.

I don't remember exactly when it was. If I had to guess, I would have said some time in the 90s. I would have been wrong according to this introduction from the booklet which for some reason is undated. Why oh why?

For 150 years, we at Lea & Perrins have been making the world's finest Worcestershire Sauce for beef and heartier foods. Now, it is with great pride that we present Lea & Perrins White Wine Worcestershire Sauce for chicken, fish, and lighter foods. It is made from an exquisite blend of fine white wine and the choicest herbs and spices. The result is a delicate yet distinctive flavor that is unparalleled.

By most accounts, White Wine Worcestershire Sauce, disappeared from the grocery shelves without much of a warning. After a few quick google searches, it seems, the sauce had quite the following. Some believe Lea and Perrins Marinade for Chicken is a reincarnation of the original White Wine Worcestershire Sauce. Others don't. Just in case you happen to have a stash in the deep dark pockets of your pantry,

In my travels I came across many "opinions" about the High-Fructose Corn Syrup content in Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. Apparently, the heavily guarded "secret recipe" has a few geographical variations. If you can find a bottle labeled the "British" variety online or elsewhere, the HFCS is substituted with sugar. Canadian stores also sell the variety which contains sugar rather than High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

There is an excellent in depth article in The New York Times about the travels of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. If you get a chance, you might want to "give it a go."

Lea & Perrins bottles, with their characteristic long necks, designed to make it easy to Shake Well Before Using, have turned up in shipwrecks, encrusted with barnacles; in the forbidden city of Lhasa, Tibet; and in the excavations at Te Wairo, New Zealand, which was buried by a volcanic eruption in 1886. I came across one during the Vietnam War in a semi-defunct colonial hotel in Dalat and another in a bar in Samarkand in what was then Soviet Central Asia...As early as 1848, a batch of old letters in the company archives show, crates of the sauce were dispatched to Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore, India, Australia and New Zealand, Mauritius, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Canada and Jamaica, and in the United States, to New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Just a reminder to all you Tasha Tudor fans out there. August 28th is also Tasha Tudor Day. You might want to celebrate with some cherished receipts.

Thank you all for the wonderful warm wishes for my impromptu visit to the fair this weekend. I spent the weekend camping out with friends at the fair which was the reason why my camera was temporarily misplaced. I have since found it:) Hopefully I will be able to organize the slew of pictures I took and share them with you in a future post. for now, I'm more concerned about devouring all your dishes I may have missed while I was gone. Get ready, I'm a comin....:)

Resources:
1. Dishes Men Like (full contents available online for download)
2. What a Fishpickle! That Lea & Perrins

74 comments:

  1. Hi Louise , love the information about Lea & Perrins now I know why I can't or won't cook without it , it's got all the good stuff in it for what ails a body , from seasoning to fixing a hangover {giggling} it's great to get away and so glad to hear you had fun . Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Delighted you enjoyed this post, Nee. It was such fun to gather the information. I'm sure the next time I "partake" in a Bloody Mary, I will reconsider the ingredients. of course it won't stop me, lol...

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    1. Thank you Pam. It was such fun to do!

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  3. The gender roles, and romance language is an absolute hoot, Louise! If only I'd know it all came down to Worchestershire Sauce! The ingredient list is fascinating, too. I'd really never thought about the ingredients at all, and the length of the list was quite a surprise. No wonder it tastes so good - like a fine wine!

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    1. The process is quite similar to aging fine wine, T.W. There were so many things I just had to leave out from this post. The Times article was so helpful and filled with info.

      I've had that Dishes Men Like booklet for so long. It fit in quite nicely in this post:)

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  4. Oddly, I favor the flavor and the Knight can't stand it.

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  5. Hi Louise,
    Great information on L&P. I always have a bottle around! Have never heard of the L&P White Wine Sauce. Pity they do not have it anymore!
    Thanks for sharing this informative post!
    Glad to hear that you've found your camera, looking forward to some photos from the fair!
    Have a great week!

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    1. It seems they may have made a mistake changing the name and possibly the ingredients. I read so many boards where people are trying to "copycat" the original recipe.

      I left my camera at the fair because I was just running home for some stuff, Joyce. it was safe while I was fgone. I just haven't gotten to the pictures yet, lol...Thanks for visiting...

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  6. Fun, fun, fun! What a great post! I vaguely remember the white wine version of Lea & Perrins, but don't know if I ever tasted it - probably not. The thought has crossed my mind, too, that Garum and Lea & Perrins might be cousins - whether distant or close, I don't know, but certainly the concept for both is pretty similar. Super post - so entertaining. Thanks.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, John. I looked up a Garum recipe in one of the Apicius recipe books I have and I would have to say the sauces must be distant cousins. Thanks for dropping by, John...

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  7. aah Louis what fun and lovely post, of course all you say is new for me, but we allways has here Lea & Perris sauce and Heard for it !I think is amazing, I have to read your récipes you post!:)

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    1. I was reading that Lea & Perrins is available in 140 countries, Gloria. So glad you have it by you too:)

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  8. I used to buy white Worcestershire sauce in the late 1980s, but haven't seen it around in a dog's age (Thor's, not Brutus'). We all love Worcestershire Sauce around here (although I may be the only one who can spell it). My older boys used to call it "Whisker Sauce" when they were little, and liked it on their burgers.

    Glad you had fun at the fair, and that your camera didn't go on permanent vacation without you!

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    1. My problem isn't with spelling it, Marjie. Mine is with pronouncing it. My granddaughter, Tabitha, gets the biggest kick out of "teaching" me how to say it. I think it's great that she has been introduced to it at a very early age, lol...You wouldn't even want to hear my rendition, Whisky Sauce sounds good to me!

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  9. I love using it in Shepherds pie or cottage pie. It has such a rich taste. I can remember seeing a bottle of it in the house when I was growing up, and that was way back in the late 50s, early 60s!

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    1. I read a lot of people use L&P in Shepherds pie. I'll have to give it a whirl, Tina. Thanks!

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  10. I always have a bottle in the pantry. Most people around here call it Wooster sauce. I use it in lots of things. Great post!

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    1. Wooster Sauce sounds good to me, Maureen. I have the darndest time pronouncing it!

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  11. Hi Louise,

    Love the nostalgic look of Lea and Perrins! What a classic!

    Not just men... I think the "lady-like" me like some of these dishes too especially the salad and the cheese sandwich!!!

    Zoe

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    1. Oh no, Zoe, not for men only anymore. Probably never. After all, in those days, it was the women who were hitting the sauce, lol...Thanks for visiting...

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  12. I put it in everything, but I had no idea anchovies were in it! Is it sad I would eat all the dishes men like while Ben prefers pasta and bread?

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  13. I always thought that the distinguishing ingredient in Worcestershire sauce was tamarind. My current bottle is an organic brand that I bought at Whole Foods where (I think) they stock no HFCS products. It's good, though -- definitely added to my mushroom steak earlier this week.

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    1. What's even more confusing, Mae is not all countries have the same ingredients in their Worcestershire sauce.

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  14. What an interesting and entertaining post. My kitchen is never without a bottle of the famous sauce.

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    1. Thanks Karen. It seems unanimous! We all have thee sauce in the pantry:)

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  15. You know, I wasn't too surprised to find anchovies in Worcestershire sauce considering all of the chefs I watch and read about use them to enhance many of their sauces--Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, to name two. Also, thank you for the reminder of Tasha Tudor. She was such a lovely lady.

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    1. Fish seems to be an ancient sauce secret ingredient, Linda. I guess it should come as no surprise that it is also in Worcestershire Sauce. Thanks for visiting...

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  16. Happy belated Tasha Tudor day!! Interesting history, thanks for the great read. Clarice

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Clarice. Thanks for dropping by...

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  17. I didn't know that there was anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce. So we are actually drinking anchovies in the bloody mary. ha! Just like Mae I thought the main ingredient was tamarind, at least I read it somewhere. Do you think the sauce used to tatse the same when it was invented? =D

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    1. I do think this is a classic bottled sauce, Helene. I would imagine it resembles an original "fish sauce." And now that you mention it, I guess, yes, a Bloody Mary does have anchovies in it if you make it classic, lol...

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  18. hi louise, do you believe me that there is a little recipe booklet on LP in front of me now? it's always on my table cos it's a small one and i didnt bother to put it inside my drawer..it was actually a gift when i last purchased a bottle of LP. Quite suprised to see LP used in desserts too like the above cancun colada!

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    1. That is serendipitous, Lena. I was surprised to see it used in a dessert too. I'm not sure if I would try it though, lol...

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  19. Dear Louise, I love the retro of these articles. It seems a much more innocent, tame and sweeter time.
    It is remarkable how Lea and Perrins can practically be used in any dish. Thank you for these articles. I always love reading them.
    Blessings and hugs and you and yours are always in my prayers. Catherine xo

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    1. I'm delighted you enjoyed this post Catherine. As you know, I too love those "retro" booklets. Thank you so much for visiting and for your prayers. Michele has ONE chemo treatment left. Prayers are always welcome:)

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  20. This whole post had me giggling....loving those old ads and recipe booklets. I think my man would still love most of those manly recipes...but he'd skip the raw egg pick me up. And now I'm going to add Worcestershire to my next batch of sauteed mushrooms :)

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    1. Oh Liz! I'm so glad this post brought a chuckle to your day:) Let me know what you think about the Worcestershire sauce on your mushrooms. It's deee...li...cious!

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  21. I love Worcestershire sauce and use it quite regularly! I particularly like its East meets West flavor.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. That's a perfect description, Rosa, East meets West.

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  22. I loved all the information you shared about Worcestershire sauce, thank you. I always have one in my fridge. I think the anchovies make the difference! Have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post Katerina. It was fun to do!

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  23. Hi Louise, Excellent posting. I love to use this L & P sauce for marinating. Thank you so much for sharing this vintage recipe booklet, the recipes are awesome.

    Have a nice weekend. regards.

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    1. Thanks Amelia. I'm so glad you liked it!

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  24. Good to know about the British and Canadian versions! I'll be looking for them. Caesar salad dressing always needs a dash of Worcestershire!

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    1. I've never added a dash of Worcestershire Sauce to Caesar Salad Lisa. Now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. Thanks!

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  25. The anchovies did surprise me, and while I don't like them, per se, I always keep anchovy paste in the fridge because it can do magical things to sauces and salad dressings.

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    1. I actually like anchovies Pattie. I really should put anchovy paste on my shopping list. Thanks!

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  26. What a wonderful post Louise! lea and perrins is a staple in my fridge - and anchovies don't actually surprise me - it is quite salty!!! really great post :))
    mary x

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    1. Thanks Mary. I always have it in the fridge to. I only wish I could pronounce it!

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  27. Such a fun and interesting post, Louise! I don’t think I would enjoy Lea and Perrins mixed with my cream of coconut…Just doesn’t seem to go together! However, I have used it when I cook up mushrooms. I was totally surprised by the anchovies!

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    1. I agree Kathy, Worcestershire and Cream of Coconut doesn't sound appealing:) Although...

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  28. What an awesome post I learnt quite a bit :D
    Wooster sauce all the way no matter what it is called!

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. No matter how you say Worcestershire Uru, it's mighty good!

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  29. I love the fact when used properly no one can ever put their finger on the magic ingredient. I made some blue cheese stuffed burgers during the week. The only seasoning in the meat was Worcestershire sauce. They were quite sublime.

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    1. Welcome David! I've been known to add additional Worcestershire Sauce to a burger already seasoned with as it makes flight to the grill. Thanks for visiting, David...

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  30. I have always had a bottle of worcestershire sauce in my refrigerator -never thought about its history and intrigue. Your post did remind me that I use in bloody Mary's an absolutely essential ingredient.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.


    Velva

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    1. Thank YOU for visiting, Velva. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit.

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  31. I just used Lea @ Perrins for my chicken dish today:D Great to know all the facts about it:D

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    1. I bet your chicken dish was delicious, Jeannie!

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  32. I just love these throw back anecdotes!

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    1. I'm glad, Angela. I enjoy posting them!

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  33. Louise, Great product, thanks for the history! xoGinger

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  34. Saw the link to this post when I received Susan Wittig Alpert's newsletter. I enjoyed the article and photos very much. I am a collector of these little vintage pamphlets for various products. I have quite a collection, but not L&P. Now, I will have to keep my eyes open for one.

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  35. I saw the link to this post in Susan Wittig Alpert's newsletter today. Since I am a collector of these little vintage pamphlets, I really enjoyed your post. The photos are wonderful and the article is so interesting. I don't have a L&P pamphlet so I'll be keeping my eyes open for one. These collectibles are so much fun to read. I do have quite a few for Jello-O though. ; )
    Love L&P and figure the amount of HFC syrup probably isn't that much - at least I hope not - so I use it. Never have tried another brand, nor did I realize there were others. We have some British goods shops around here, so I will check to see if they have it without the HFCS.
    Thanks for a great read!

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    1. Here is the link for Susan Wittig Albert's (wrong spelling in previous post) blog where she links to your post:

      http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/latest.html

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and for leaving that link Picklemasti. I will be sure and check it out.

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise