Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yorkshire Sauce.

Today we continue on our quest to unravel some of the secrets of “English Sauces” – that is, sauces apparently named for English towns and counties. It is the turn of Yorkshire Sauce.

A recipe for Yorkshire Sauce in the American cookbook The Steward’s Handbook and Guide to Party Catering, by Jessup Whitehead (Chicago, 1903) sounds suspiciously like Cumberland Sauce – which is intriguing as we considered yesterday that the latter might possibly have come by its name in America. Is Yorkshire Sauce then another example of American naming? I have been unable so far to find any reference to Yorkshire Sauce in any English cookery book, which perhaps reinforces the theory. Here is Jessup Whitehead’s recipe – you will see how similar it is to yesterday’s Cumberland Sauce:

Yorkshire Sauce.
Orange sauce for ham; espagnole, currant jelly, port wine, orange juice and boiled rind cut in shreds.

The Oxford English Dictionary does not have any reference to Yorkshire Sauce, but it does have a relatively lengthy entry on Yorkshire Relish, which it defines as “the proprietary name of a kind of savoury sauce.” The proprietary sauce was manufactured by Goodall Backhouse and Co. of Leeds, and the first reference is to it is in the Trade Marks Journal of 1877. The name was the subject of a legal dispute in 1895, the manufacturers attempting to prevent a rival company marketing their own product under the same name. The plaintiffs’ case was successfully argued by scientists who analysed the composition of both products, and concluded that, amongst other things, “a marked peculiarity of the imitation ‘relish’ was the large amount of cream of tartar it contained in the form of crystals”, and there were significant differences in specific gravity, and the type of sugar used.

Ironically, Whitehead’s book also acknowledges the proprietary relish, and gives a recipe for an imitation:

Bottled Table Sauce.
The recipe for making the genuine Yorkshire Relish is probably known only to the manufacturers. However, the following is said to yield a good imitation of that popular sauce:
1 oz. garlic, 1 teaspoonful cayenne, 2 tablespoonfuls Indian soy, 2 tablespoonfuls mushroom ketchup, and 1 pt. vinegar; boil altogether 10 minutes and strain, and bottle
when cold.

It would seem sensible to go to a Yorkshire source for ideas on Yorkshire-named recipes. From the Yorkshire Observer recipe collection of the 1930’s we have:

Yorkshire Relish.
½ oz. cloves,
¼ oz. cayenne pods,
1 oz. peppercorns.
Put in pan with one pint of water, boil 20 min then add
1 quart of vinegar
½ lb sugar,
¼ lb salt, and
2d.[dessertspoons?] burnt sugar.
Boil altogether for 5 min. Strain and it is ready for use when cold.
(Mrs.Scargill, Batley)

Then, just to confuse or enrich the subject further, here is a sweet version (from an American source) - a lemon-essence flavoured hard sauce to put on your pudding.

Yorkshire Sauce
Three ounces of butter
Five table spoonfuls of powdered sugar
Three drops of essence of lemon
Nutmeg or cinnamon to the taste.
Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, and add the lemon and spice.
This sauce is eaten with baked puddings, fritters, &c. Some add a tea spoonful of brandy.
The National Cookbook, by Hannah McBouvier, Philadelphia 1866

Quotation for the Day.

Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with Give us pasta with a hundred fillings.
Robert Farrar Capon.


Anonymous said...

Just thinking... there's obviously Indian influence in these kinds of fruit sauces. And not just the "Indian soy". isn't there tamarind in worcestershire sauce? And isn't chutney an Indian word?

Sorry, too many questions. I'll go back to my corner now.

Anonymous said...

Yorkshire sauce, as all other sauces named 'after' places in the UK are named so as they are traditionally made in/originate from their namesake. The idea of cumberland sauce originating from america is a misnomer, probably the more likely is cumberland, and many other sauces, were made or written down in America following a family recipe from England. As for Yorkshire sauce, the 'relish' you speak of is the original 'Yorkshire Sauce' - the most famous being Henderson's Relish made in Sheffield from a secret family recipe, although some liken it to the more readily available (in UK at least) 'Worcestershire sauce', but Yorkshire Relish is typically suitable for vegitarians.

Hope this clears this up, I'm from Yorkshire!

atom said...

The "2d. burnt sugar" is most likely a reference to its monetary value, as in 2 pence worth, pre-decimalisation.
I've come across this before in old family recipe books.