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Wilson’s gravy: the curious history of brown sauce tells you all you need to know about the English

The humble HP was originally made to squeeze profit from the sundries of empire. But, inevitably, it has become a symbol of class, status and taste—or lack of it...

By Caroline O'Donoghue   March 2020

Illustration: Kate Hazell

The history of empire teaches us that people go to war over two things: God and spices. It makes sense, then, that the most controversial condiment in our kitchens is the one absolutely packed with the latter which has attracted the kind of reverence of the former.

I am, of course, talking about brown sauce.

This is a sauce with connotations. Mustard can mean anything from a yellow squeezy bottle at a New York City hotdog stand, to…

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