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Bringing brown to the masses


The HP Foods that brings you Omelette ‘n’ Chips is most famous in the UK for HP Sauce, the empire’s leading brand of brown sauce. You’re at least as likely to find a bottle of HP Sauce as a bottle of ketchup on your table in the local cafe. I’m not sure what people put it on. I’ve never seen anyone eat it.

It tastes…brown.

Oh, so very brown. Like steak sauce, but without the kick. It’s made out of vinegar and dates and…brown.

Meat sauces and chutneys were popular in England in the 19th Century. Making them was time-consuming and required exotic ingredients, so they were out of the reach of most households.

In the 1890s, grocer Frederick Gibson Garton hawked his own sauces from a hand cart. He registered the name HP in 1896, after he heard a rumor his sauce was served in the dining room of the Houses of Parliament. He sold the name and the recipe to vinegar mogul Edwin Samson Moore, who brought brown to the people in 1903. The launch was delayed in deference to the death of Queen Victoria.

You couldn’t get more British than that if you tattoo’d the Union Jack on your arse while whistling Rule Britannia.

Sadly, HP Sauce has fallen in with Johnny Foreigner in latter days. First the French (Danone) and then the Americans (Heinz). Under Heinz’s’z ownership, production was moved to the Netherlands. Enraged Brits (ha ha! Just kidding. Somewhat shirty Brits) tried to organize a boycott in response, but, thanks to their supine neighbors, HP still accounts for more than 70% of the brown market.

Brown trivia

· At one time, a motorway cut through the middle of the Aston factory, necessitating a vinegar pipeline over the highway
· HP Sauce was known as “Wilson’s Gravy” during the tenure of Labour PM Harold Wilson, after his wife told the Times “If Harold has a fault, it is that he will drown everything with HP Sauce”
· Wilson later admitted it was Worcestershire sauce he slathered on everything
· Which makes much more sense
· Who came up with the slogan “what can brown do for you?”? Seriously, is UPS retarded?
· Between HP Sauce, Daddies Favorite and Heinz 57, the Heinz Corporation has a perilous stranglehold on the British brown trade
· Heinz also makes the most popular and ubiquitous British baked beans
· On their web site, they infuriatingly spell it “baked beanz”
· Ohmigod! I just phoned Britain and got a bean check. They spell it “baked beanz” on the cans, too! How the hell could I have missed that all these years?!
· By never drawing a sober breath in Britain, that’s how

Further reading: Waitrose grocery on the subject. This dude takes his brown sauce a little too seriously. Wiki does brown sauce. The UK Heinz site.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 6, 2007, 10:02 am



I shitteth thee not:  



Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: June 6, 2007, 11:02 am

I can manage the fish and chips, and even bangers and mash. I’m kinda picky on Shepherd’s pie, but mostly cause the bad chefs boil cheap, chewy beef.

But by and large I’d have to say my experiences with Brit cuisine are not fond memories.

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 6, 2007, 3:41 pm

Good Lord Ladies, Watch me trade a recipe right here in this manly blog.
Have you ever tried lemon curd? I have a very good recipe for the microwave.

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 6, 2007, 3:50 pm

I went to the heinz website http://www.heninzbeanz.com – They have a heinz beanz wallpaper you can download. “If you can’t get enough of Heinz Baked Beanz get the Original & Best right on your desktop.” What genius in the marketing department thought there would be a demand for that?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 6, 2007, 4:36 pm

Good lord, Dawn! You aren’t a…a…lime-sucking, butty-muncher…are you?

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 6, 2007, 10:16 pm

Please let everyone know that a butty is a sandwich and not a gay man.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 7, 2007, 4:28 am

Behold! Butty:

Is there nothing I hath not blogged upon?

Though if I had the option of munching on buttered french fries on white bread or man ass, I’d have to think about it.

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 7, 2007, 9:26 am


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 7, 2007, 9:51 am

Albert Fish recorded a recipe for basted rump with bacon that sounded very palatable is all I’m saying.

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 7, 2007, 11:59 am

Uhm, after looking that that link, I think you’re confusing English eating with English cooking. The Brits cook many things I wouldn’t eat. Below is an example of British cooking

3 lb Rump or Eye of Round Roast
1 pkt Au Jus Gravy Mix
1 pkt Dry Ranch Dressing or Dip Mix
1 can Beef Broth
1/2 cup Water
Put roast in pot.
Pour remaining ingredients over roast in pot.
Cook for 8 hours.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 7, 2007, 12:32 pm

Huh. This is strange. I went back to that Albert Fish article for his Little Boy Bottom recipe (in case you’re wondering: “I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put them in the oven. Then I picked 4 onions and when the meat had roasted about 1/4 hour, I poured about a pint of water over it for gravy and put in the onions. At frequent intervals I basted his behind with a wooden spoon. So the meat would be nice and juicy. In about 2 hours, it was nice and brown, cooked through. I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did.”).

Toward the end, it talks about Fish’s propensity for sending obscene letters:

Fish had been arrested in May 1930 for “sending an obscene letter to an African American woman who answered an advertisement for a maid.”[20]

Note the footnote, which is:

20. ^ New York Times, December 15, 1934, pg 1; Retrieved on February 14, 2007

Yes, it’s sweet that the Albert Fish article was apparently written on Valentine’s Day, but that’s not what I’m getting at. There is no way in hell Fish was convicted in 1930 of harassing an “African American woman.” If her race was mentioned in the charges at all, it would likely have been “negro” or “colored” — not the approved words in 2007, but hardly obscene. But the phrase is in quotes.

Don’t tell me the Times is going back and purging unapproved language from its archives!

I know the National Archives is. I was browsing some very old pieces of film the other day, and there was a description on one that had clearly been altered to “African American” from whatever offensive word it had originally been.

I really don’t think we ought to mess with history like that. If nothing else, how are the grievance mongers going to support their case if we scrub their grievances out of the record?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 7, 2007, 1:02 pm

‘Fraid so, Weasel. Not just unapproved language, either.

The Times et al have been butty-blasted so many times by critics wielding lexis-nexis data proving past damning statements, political positions, and current hypocrisy on their part that they’re just changing history.

Sweet. Kinda makes you want to power-hurl bunny asses, don’t it?

Brings to mind a friend in collage, who’s one contribution to math was to deduce and refine the “Eraser Property of Variables”.

Whenever (usually) he found a math problem to be too intractable, he simply erased some of the equation and solved the simplified result. He later dropped mechanical engineering and got a degree in psychology. I believe he now works as a Greeter in a Sears store.

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