Home | Cookbooks | Diary | Magic Menu | Random | More ≡

Brown Sauce
Sauces and Spicery

A cold, thick, dark, table pouring sauce of finely pureed fruit, vinegar and sharp spices.


Tamarind Fruit


English Brown Sauce has a highly distinctively flavour, which comes, usually, from tamarinds, an African fruit, but occasionally from combinations which give a similar flavour such as cloves or mace with dates. Served with any meal, brown sauce is the last everyday remnant of ancient fruit-and-spice sauces such as Rapey or Civey.

The first reference we find to a cold bottled tamarind sauce is in advertisements for the JG Driver Company in the early 20th Century...


Liverpool Echo - Thursday 16 July 1914




The most noted brown sauce brand was developed by a Nottingham grocer Frederick Gibson Garton in 1896, claiming to have taken its name 'HP' from the Houses of Parliament, where it was alleged to be popular. However, an alternative, and entirely uncoroborated, story suggests that the HP was one Harry Palmer, inventor of "Harry Palmer's Famous Epsom Sauce" the receipt for which he was forced to sell to Garton to cover gambling debts, though the nearest we've ever found to that story was a racehorse of the 1890's called 'Epsom Sauce'.


Advertising poster for Garton's HP Sauce
Image: Walsall Museum http://blackcountryhistory.org

In 1903 Garton sold the receipt and brand name for £150 to Edwin Moore of the Midlands Vinegar Company, which eventually became HP Foods. The company was later sold to Danone and in 2005 to Heinz who closed the Aston, Birmingham plant to manufacture HP sauce in Elst in the Netherlands. This led the Labour MP Khalid Mahmood to brandish a bottle of HP Sauce during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in protest. He also made reference to the sauce's supposed popularity with the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson during whose time it was claimed that HP came to be known as 'Wilson's Gravy'.

A passable version can be made from 2lb apples, 1lb prunes, 1lb tamarinds cooked with ginger, nutmeg, allspice, Cayenne pepper and pureed with 1lb of sugar, 3 pints malt vinegar.




MORE FROM Foods of England...
Cookbooks Diary Index Magic Menu Random Really English? Timeline English Service Food Map of England Lost Foods Accompaniments Biscuits Breads Cakes and Scones Cheeses Classic Meals Curry Dishes Dairy Drinks Egg Dishes Fish Fruit Fruits & Vegetables Game & Offal Meat & Meat Dishes Pastries and Pies Pot Meals Poultry Preserves & Jams Puddings & Sweets Sauces and Spicery Sausages Scones Soups Sweets and Toffee About ...

   @FoodsOfEngland

   glyn@foodsofengland.co.uk


COPYRIGHT and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: © Glyn Hughes, Sunday 02 September 2018
BUILT WITH WHIMBERRY
matrixstats