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Worcestershire sauce

A proprietary brand of sauce, first made in England in 1835, designed both as a condiment and as a cooking ingredient. The blend originated from the Anglo occupation of India, and as well as vinegar and molasses, contains anchovies, tamarinds, garlic, shallots and spices.

The product was launched by John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, who were partners in a chemist's shop in Broad Street, Worcester - made to a recipe given to them by Lord Marcus Sandys, who had spent time as Governor of Bengal

The story goes that when the original recipe was made up it tasted unpalatable, but after being shelved for some time, and forgotten about, it matured and became delicious. They launched the product in 1837, and by 1843 were selling 14,500 bottles a year.

Worcester sauce became throughout South America as 'salsa inglesa'.

In 1930 the Lea & Perrins brand was merged with a nearby Birmingham sauce manufacturer HP Foods - makers of House of Parliament Sauce. In the course of time the HP group passed to Imperial and then briefly to the Hanson Group, before becoming part of the French company BSN - now part of Danone - so Worcester Sauce is now owned by the French!

It's used mainly to spike-up old favorites - such as cheese on toast, spaghetti Bolognese, stews, casseroles and stir-fries. It's also a necessary ingredient of 'Bloody Mary'. See 'Bloody Mary'; 'Harvey"s sauce'

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