Worcestershire Sauce Was Born From A Funky Failure

Worcestershire sauce. A familiar, old-time sauce that most have in their pantry but still aren't entirely sure what exactly it is. Whether you know how to properly pronounce it or not, Worcestershire sauce has become a staple in most households. Described as an "umami delivery vehicle" by Bon Appétit, they relate it to having similar attributes as soy or fish sauce. As umami is one of those hard-to-describe tastes, it's no wonder people feel the same about Worcestershire sauce. Whether or not you understand this sauce, we do know it's delicious!

Now known as a classic condiment, there's a big chance that Worcestershire sauce could have never been invented. Originally created in Worcester, England, the sauce today is a perfect complement to many meat dishes, adding an interesting zing (via The New York Times). While people now rely heavily on it, the original concoction was set aside and completely forgotten about. So, how did Worcestershire sauce become what we now know today?

A mistake turned into a success

Lea & Perrins is responsible for the original Worcestershire sauce, which was created by John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins in 1837 (via FoodBeast). Legend has it that Lea and Perrins were asked to create the condiment, but it was a complete failure. So much so, that they left the full barrel of it in the basement. It wasn't until months had passed that a clerk found it. When Lea and Perrins tasted it, they were shocked by what they found.

As the sauce sat, it fermented and created a flavor that was unlike anything they had before. The original recipe contained malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, garlic, and spices (via The New York Times). Although there are slight deviations from the original recipe in the bottles today, Lea & Perrins keep the recipe under tight control making sure no one else can copy its unique taste. If it wasn't for a daring individual trying the forgotten fermented sauce, this staple wouldn't be on our shelves today!