Lea & Perrins' Sauce [back]

Sometime in the 1830s, Lord Marcus Sandys, the former governor of Bengal, drove into Worcester from his nearby country estate to visit Lea & Perrins, his local chemist-cum-grocer. The shop on Broad Street sold foodstuffs, cosmetics, and all sorts of medicines and was known for its supply of spices and dried fruits specially imported from Asia and the Americas. Lord Sandys arrived with a recipe on a scrap of paper and requested Lea & Perrins to make up his favorite Indian sauce. The mixture that Messrs. Lea and Perrins duly concocted was so fiery that it made their eyes water. But as has already been mentioned, according to Emma Roberts these sauces were “assuredly the most piquant adjuncts to flesh and fowl which the genius of a gastronome has ever compounded.” Sandys was delighted with the results. But the chemists were disgusted with the mixture. They put the extra barrels that they had made up for themselves in the cellar, where they were forgotten. During a spring clean, however, it was noticed that an appetizing aroma was rising out of the abandoned barrels and on tasting the contents Lea and Perrins discovered that the concoction had matured into a pleasing spicy sauce. The enterprising pair went into immediate production. By 1845 they had set up a factory in Worcester, and by 1855 were selling over 30,000 bottles a year. -Lizzie Collingham, Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerers

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an accidental discovery.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite condiment? How do you use it? What is your history with this condiment?

Art Prompt: Lea & Perrins

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell the story of your favorite condiment.

Photo Credit: Boston Public Library on Flickr

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