I’ve heard foodies say that food has the power to evoke memories, such as the first time we enjoyed a particular dish or a restaurant (Tony’s Baltimore Grill) that holds some special meaning. In fact, in these very pages, I’ve written about some of the gastronomic memories of my childhood.
This past Independence Day weekend, it wasn’t a particular food that brought back memories. It was an ingredient – a simple bottle of Worcestershire sauce. Mrs. M. came across a spectacular barbeque rib recipe that included Worcestershire sauce among the components.
I don’t do too much cooking with Worcestershire sauce, but my father, well, let’s just say it was one of his go to ingredients. Looking back, whether in a marinade, a table side condiment or as a base ingredient, this curiously fermented concoction was a part of pretty much every meat dish that came out of the McCullough kitchen.
I don’t know why Worcestershire sauce hasn’t secured a permanent spot in my pantry. The recipe for the sauce that accompanied my ribs only called for a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire, which leaves me with nearly a full bottle to play with. Who cares if it has anchovies in it! (Fortunately Zoe’s not reading Daddy’s blog yet, so let’s keep that anchovy thing between you and me)
Times and techniques change. I remember many a cookout (what we called barbeques up North) with many a mayonnaise-based salad basking in the summer sun. Salmonella? Who’s that, the new right hander for the Phillies? Tastes also evolve (along with health concerns). Perhaps that’s why I use olive and canola oils and not lard or shortening; why I rely more on freshly cracked ground pepper for flavor and not table salt, or why you’re likely to find chicken on my grill and not in my deep fryer. But Worcestershire — it’s a pretty versatile, healthy in moderation, flavorful and inexpensive product and I’m excited to welcome it to my pantry and who knows, maybe we’ll make some new memories.