By Alison Peake
How many foodstuffs do we have sitting in our pantry that we don’t give a second thought to only to find they have a venerable history if we explore a little further?
Most of us would consider Worcestershire Sauce a staple but give little thought to where it came from, how it is made or its history. It may be surprising to know it is a second cousin to Asian fish sauce, which is in turn related to a fermented anchovy sauce called garum which was very popular in ancient Roman cuisine.
You may be familiar with Lea & Perrins sauce which brand, according to Wikipedia ‘was commercialised in 1837 and was the first type of sauce to bear the Worcestershire name’.
The origin of the Lea & Perrins recipe is unclear. The packaging originally stated that the sauce came ‘from the recipe of a nobleman in the county’. The company has also claimed that ‘Lord Marcus Sandys, ex-Governor of Bengal’ encountered it while in India with the East India Company in the 1830s, and commissioned the local apothecaries to recreate it.
Fast forward some 100 years to 1946, when Lance Corporal Frederick Cameron, otherwise known as ‘Freddie’ returned home to Eaglehawk, Bendigo after serving in WWII. At the time things were tough for Aussie families. Food and clothing were rationed, which meant life was about finding pleasure in the simple things. During this time Freddie became inspired to create his own homemade sauces.
Over the years his homemade flavour became incredibly loved by family and friends, so much so that his children began making the sauces, and a tradition known as “Pa’s sauce” was created by Freddie’s grandkids.
Carrying on this tradition, grandson Mike and his wife Keri have now established Corporal Freddie’s Fine Sauce company to bring these recipes to a broader audience. Thanks to them you can now enjoy the flavours of a carefully crafted artisan sauce made with love and care which honours generations of tradition.
Check them out online at www.corporalfreddies.com or come on down to the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of the month in Spotswood. Buy direct and hear more about the fine tradition behind the creation of an artisan sauce.