Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Foodie Finds: Brown Sauce

Pardon me, if I offend, but I was scared of Brown Sauce. To my inner foodie, the allure of what appeared to be preservative-riddled, bottled gravy has always escaped me. I saw it on the shelf at World Market in the States, in the cabinets of countless homes, I even watched Maggie Smith smuggle it on her trip to India in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but nothing could make me the least bit curious. Then, to my shock and horror, I found 'tangy-fruity' HP sauce in someone's kitchen. All hell must have broken loose!  Fruity, tangy gravy?! Please, Brits can't be that mad! So, it was then and there that I determined I must try this... this... whatever it is. Luckily, after days of agony, I finally gave the dreaded sauce a try and found that my mental image could not have been farther from the truth. To my delight, brown sauce is not gravy! Not even the least bit gravy-y! It's really more like a party of malt vinegar, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce with  maybe a little BBQ sauce thrown in for good measure. Now,  I am no convert {I tend to be extremely picky about my condiments} but all in all, it's not too shabby. I also realized, upon further research, that brown sauce isn't even foreign to the American palette, it has been hiding in countless American kitchens under the guise of A1 steak sauce. Evidently, A1 made it across the pond around 1895 and quickly became a steakhouse staple. Meanwhile, HP sauce {the most popular, if not the original brown sauce created in the 1870's}, became   "The Official Sauce of Great Britain," the accompaniment to the famed full English Breakfast and favourite of royalty and common folk alike. Given Great Britain's culinary reputation, comes as no surprise that this tangy, complex, sauce is slathered on just about everything. So, while I have not completely bought in, I am starting to get this brown sauce and who knows maybe by the time I head back to the states I, too, will be a nostalgic brown sauce-lover! 



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