worcestershire sauce: is english sauce a better name?

in a class here in mexico this week, the condiment worcestershire sauce was a topic of discussion.

shrek & arthur of worcestershire in shrek 3
shrek  goes to worcestershire to convince arthur to return with him to far, far away & become king. (animatedviews.com)

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

worcestershire is a strange name that is difficult to pronounce. in fact it can be pronounced two ways: “WOO-ster-shire” or “WOO-ster“; in both cases the “woo” is pronounced like the word wood.  shrek fans will recognize worcestershire as shrek’s destination when he goes in search of his dying father-in-law’s nephew arthur in shrek the third.

bilbo baggins smokin a pipe at home in the shire
bilbo baggins smokin at home in the shire 

worcestershire is a county in central england, and shire by itself is an anticuated word that was used as an administrative division. shire also is where the hobbits are from in the hobbit and lord of the rings trilogies.

despite these interesting facts, worcestershire is a difficult name for most consumers to pronounce. perhaps for this reason, in various markets it is known by a more manageable name. wikipedia explains that in denmark as well as latin america, worcestershire sauce is known as english sauce.

michelada ingredients including worcestershire sauce
all the ingredients to make a michelada

in mexico, english sauce is a delicious ingredient in the beloved beer drink known as michelada (or cubana). additionally, it is a favorite condiment to use on pizza.

could this popularity, the difficult pronunciation and the continuing penetration of mexican immigrants into the u.s. encourage americans to start using the easier name? this old school commercial for heinz worcestershire sauce shows that americans have had trouble pronouncing the name for a long time.

the ad  begins with this line…

ladies, do you ever wish for a magic sauce to pep up that tired gravy or stew your cooking? wish granted.

pep up is a phrasal verb that means give energy to. tired in this context means boring, not interesting. gravy is a meat flavored sauce served over mashed potatoes or meatstew is a dish of meat, potatoes and vegetables prepared in a liquid; stew is thicker than soup.

turkey-gravy--vocabulario-en-inglés         beef-stew--vocabulario-en-inglés

gravy and stew (parker feirbach/delish.com,cookingclassy.com)

granting a wish means using your power to make someone else’s wish come true.

genie and aladdin
genies grant wishes.

actually, the name english sauce might not be quite right either. the backstory is a reminder of british colonization.

an official of the british empire who had served in india presented the idea of recreating the sauce to two worcestershire chemists, john lea and william perrins. they were unhappy with their initial effort but didn’t throw it away (put it in the garbage). years later, when cleaning out (removing old or obsolete items) their storage space, they found and tried their creation again and fermentation had made it delicious.  today, lea and perrins is recognized as the top worcestershire sauce brand in the world.

a bottle of worcestershire sauce
do u use this condiment in your country?  what’s it called?


another possible pronunciation….

do u like worcestershire sauce?  what do u put it on or in? share your recommendations under leave a reply




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