Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sauces of Empire

TT sauce CWS If there ever was a sauce of the Empire it would have to be Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce, born in that town in 1837. It has the ingredients of Empire - sugar, molasses and tamarind. Though most people in Britain wouldn't know what tamarind looks like or that comes from India. But they've certainly tasted it for it also in the biggest brand of table sauce - HP Sauce. House of Parliament on the label, a favourite of Prime Minister Harold Wilson and now made in the Netherlands. That says what happened to Empire. It was overtaken by global capitalism and multi-nationals.

The picture is of TT sauce made by the CWS. It was around in the time of WWI, maybe even later. Now the Empire is shown on the hemispheres with the Dominions, the Raj and a colony. Not the East African acquisitions of Rhodesia, Uganda, Kenya etc. Ceylon isn't even on the map.

There were lots of sauces in bottles and usually they had two initials for their name. The CWS also had one called JP Sauce which carried on until at least the late 1950's. Unfortunately I've only got this bad reproduction of a TT Sauce label and no ingredient list. I have a theory why bottles of sauce have always been popular. It goes bland food, and making your own sauce for your meal is a step too far in skill or time. So reach for the bottle and liven up your plate with a consistent condiment.

This was No.6 in the Foods of Empire Series at the Co-Op.

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