The city of Worcester in the UK is renowned all over the world as the birthplace of Lee and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce. It is matured from a secret recipe, but that secret may well be out.
A former employee of the factory, Brian Keogh who worked for them as an accountant claimed to have found the secret recipe discarded in a dumpster next to the site. Two leather bound portfolios containing the hand written list of ingredients to make the sauce has been revealed by his daughter Bonnie Clifford. She is working alongside Worcester Museum, now that her father has died, to authenticate the portfolios with an eventual end to displaying them in the museum.
The ingredients are listed as follows:
Water 20˝lb (9.3 liters)
Cloves 2lb (0.9 kg)
Salt 10lb (4.5 kg)
Sugar 34lb (15.4 kg)
Soy 8 gallons (36.3 liters)
Fish 24lb (10.8 kg)
Vinegar 18 gallons (81.8 liters)
Essence of lemons 8oz (157 ml)
Peppers 5lb (2.25 kg)
Tamaroide (Victorian name for tamarind) 14lb (6.3 kg)
Pickles 40lbs (18.1 kg)
The sauce was first produced on the orders of a Lord Sandy who had recently returned from India and was trying to replicate a sauce he had eaten there. He commissioned two local chemists John Wheeley Lee and William Perrins to create the sauce for him. The resulting concoction he deemed disgusting whereby Mr Lee and Mr Perrins dumped their creation in casks in the basement. The brew sat there maturing until eventually Mr Lee and Mr Perrins thought it time to pour it down the drain. Fortunately, they had one final taste and discovered the sauce had transformed and mellowed into something wonderful and they immediately began brewing it commercially.
Today it is still brewed in Worcester with an additional factory in New Jersey; the sauce is exported to over 75 countries across the world where it is enjoyed in a multitude of ways. A splash to enhance a soup or stew, a delicious dressing or a mouthwatering marinade can all be derived from Mr Lee and Mr Perrin’s sauce. A Bloody Mary cocktail just wouldn’t be the same without a dash of the spicy sauce, the same goes for the Canadian Caesar or Bloody Caesar cocktail which comes with added clam juice.
The list of secret ingredients may well be out, but the actual preparation process and brewing practice is still shrouded in secrecy and guarded by those who are deemed privileged to hold the knowledge of this sumptuous sauce.
Photos courtesy of flickr - PaulSh, Btshbuzz. Newsteam and wikicommons.