Friday, March 4, 2016

Ad: 1905 Tabasco Sauce

     Ah Tabasco Sauce, love it or hate it, it's been around since just after the Civil War.  This fiery pepper sauce is the backbone of Louisiana cuisine and graces tables all over the world.  So what are the beginnings of this iconic brand?

     After the US-Mexican War of the 1840's soldiers returning home came with seeds from the various pepper plants that grow in Mexico having grown fond of the spicy Mexican cooking.  One of these soldiers came home to his family plantation on Avery Island and planted the seeds there.  During the Civil War Avery Island was occupied by Federal forces and used as a base against blockade runners operating in the Gulf of Mexico.  The McIlhenny family fled the island and stayed in New Orleans for the duration of the war.  In 1866 they returned to their now ruined plantation and found nothing of value left except for the Tabasco pepper plants that had grown wild over the years.  Soon a recipe was invented using the crushed hot peppers, vinegar and salt from the huge salt dome that made up Avery Island and with a few tweaks along the way, Tabasco Sauce was invented.

     The sauce was originally bottled in cologne bottles and caught on very quickly in Louisiana but it wasn't until the late 1800's that it started to catch on in the rest of the USA.  While the insanely spicy cooking we see today was years away from being dreamed up, Tabasco was able to brighten up what was otherwise a rather dull and boring diet in that time period.  The sauce was universally accepted by the time this ad came out in 1905 but I'm not really sure if was mostly used by the middle class or if the upper class used it as well.  One thing is for sure though, even in the darkest corners of the world today you can still find Tabasco sauce for sale.  


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