Thursday, October 11, 2012

Worcestershire Sauce

                To begin, I am very happy that I am typing this and not speaking it. The topic of this entry is Worcestershire Sauce, which is reflected in the title. Anyway, how one actually pronounces “Worcestershire” has eluded me throughout my life, albeit, I have not spent much time searching for it. I have heard this word pronounced in many fashions, from “Woyster sauce” to “Warstersure sauce” to “What’s this hear sauce?” After looking it up on Wikipedia, I have learned that the actual pronunciation is “Wustersure sauce” or something like that.
                But why am I writing about Worcestershire sauce? Actually, I don’t remember… that is, what the actual recipe… Ugh, let me try again on that…
                It was this past spring that a recipe, that I don’t remember, appeared, arose, in Stephanie’s mind to make as a meal, and it required Worcestershire sauce. Alas, within my own abode, no Worcestershire sauce resided.  We needed Worcestershire sauce. Immediately, I thought of my parent’s house down the road. I was quite certain that they had plenty, and I mean PLENTY, of Worcestershire sauce. My memory told me there were many bottles in the kitchen cupboards. So, rather than travel five miles into town, I drove a mile down the road to my parent’s house.
                My parents were not home when I arrived, not that it mattered. It took very little time to find the Worcestershire sauce. In fact, much like I had suspected, it did not take long to find many Worcestershire sauce bottles. There were standard Lea & Perrin bottles wrapped in the famous yellow paper and even a “White Wine Worcestershire Sauce” wrapped in green paper. Eureka! I had found what was sought, so I grabbed a bottle of the standard sauce and headed for the door.
                As I entered the dining room, something caused me to stop. More specifically, after learning about all the crazy… poisons that have forced their way into our food, I stopped… and read the ingredient list. “Water, vinegar, molasses, high fructose corn syrup…”
                WHAT?!!! Lea and Perrins’ Worcestershire sauce has high fructose corn syrup in it?!!! Is nothing sacred?!!!
                I have a bottle of the Worcestershire sauce with me as I am writing this. I was curious just now when they first made the sauce, so I looked on the label… It doesn’t say… OF COURSE IT DOESN’T SAY! THE ORIGINAL SAUCE DIDN’T HAVE HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN IT!
                I googled the information I sought. The sauce was first sold in 1838, over 130 years before high fructose corn syrup entered the food stream. And now, as I write this, I am still as shocked as I was when I first read those ingredients to find high fructose corn syrup on the label. But allow me to explain…
                High fructose corn syrup is essentially corn that has been chemically altered, that is processed, in order to increase sweetness. It is part of the Big Agriculture machine that thinks corn, in any form, should be 100 percent of the human diet. (I may be exaggerating, but it sure seems that way.)The problem is that the human body does not know what to do with such processed foods. As much as Big Agriculture insists that high fructose corn syrup is like any other sugar, it isn’t. I will mention my own experiment again from a few years ago, where I consciously cut high fructose corn syrup out of my diet and lost 45 pounds in a few months. By no means was that an exhaustively conclusive experiment, but it was enough to reveal to me that high fructose corn syrup has a significant negative impact, specifically weight gain. And when one looks around and sees the horde of overweight people in our society, a society largely fed by processed foods, such as high fructose corn syrup, it is easy to suspect nefarious effects… weight gain being only one of them.
                And even in Worcestershire sauce!  Seriously, is more sweetness, or more likely, a cheaper sweetener, important enough to change a recipe of almost 175 years? Really? Is a greater profit really THAT necessary? Ugh.
                As I perused the Wikipedia page for Lea and Perrins, I read that the recipe was changed back to real sugar in 2011 due to health concerns over high fructose corn syrup. Kudos. At least Worcestershire sauce has returned to true form, as countless other items have not.
                I wrote the preceding paragraph and realized that my parents had a somewhat old bottle of Worcestershire sauce. On the day when I read the ingredients of that first bottle I took, I wondered whether my parent’s had an even older bottle of Worcestershire sauce in their house… So I searched… very deeply in the kitchen closet… Eureka!... again!
                I looked at the ingredients on the older bottle… “water, vinegar, molasses, corn sweeteners…”
                For some reason, when I first read those ingredients, I was reassured that I had secured a bottle of Worcestershire sauce before they started using high fructose corn syrup. Now, I am not so certain… What were “corn sweeteners”? Is it possible that before high fructose corn syrup was required to be printed on the label of ingredients, it was listed as a “corn sweetener”? I googled a search… and found nothing. How old was the bottle? I could not tell. Alas! I cannot trust that older bottle of Worcestershire sauce either!
                It is absolutely exasperating trying to find food products without… poisons in them! I can’t help but think of the statement, that originated, apparently, from Socrates in ancient Greece, “Ignorance is bliss”. Indeed, one must have to be “ignorant” of the ingredients in processed foods in order, first, to enjoy them, second, to reach the level of “bliss” in the process. The more I have personally learned about how some of these foods are “processed”, the more disgusted I grow over what is nothing more than greed for an extra dollar, backed by no scientific proof that such processing is not harmful to humans whatsoever. Sure, there is plenty of proof that rats suffer greatly… but humans… nooooo. We’ll just wait for some odd form of cancer down the road…
                Before I finish this entry, I return to the White Wine Worcestershire Sauce mentioned before. I was curious as to the ingredients on that label. While I did not find “high fructose corn syrup”, I did find a host of processed ingredients, including one I wrote about only a short while ago… carrageenan!
                (He said knowingly…)

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