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Jane Grigson’s white devil

Jane Grigson’s white devil is a little different from the one by Theodora FitzGibbon described in our essay on devils in the lyrical. The most noteworthy difference is the addition of anchovy, but there are others in this particularly good sauce. Ever scrupulous, Mrs. Grigson in turn credits Nancy Shaw for the original version, which she dates from 1936.

Colman's Mustard-½ cup heavy cream
-1 teaspoon anchovy sauce (see the notes)
-1 teaspoon coarse grained prepared mustard (see the notes)
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 teaspoon malt vinegar
-1 teaspoon Worcestershire

  1. 1. Whip the cream “until fairly stiff.”
  2. 2. Whisk together the other ingredients and stir them into the cream until incorporated.

- White devil gives you options. You can serve it with cold birds of any kind, ham or leftover meat for that matter. “Better still,” as Mrs. Grigson advises, “spread the cold meat with mustard lightly, having cut it into nice pieces. Arrange them in a small ovenproof dish, and pour over the sauce. Place in a hot oven, [400°], till thoroughly heated through and lightly browned.” This and the quotation at Step 1 both are taken from Mrs. Grigson’s English Food (London 1974) 352-53.

- Sometimes you can find Watkins anchovy sauce in the United States (basically anchovies, salt and undisclosed spice) but not often. Anchovy paste is a workable substitute; lacking that, mash up an anchovy or two.

- The original recipe calls for wine vinegar.

- Mrs. Grigson’s recipe also uses ½ teaspoon Harvey’s sauce and an equal measure of Worcestershire instead of the Worcestershire alone. Harvey’s sauce has left the building, but if you thirst for authenticity a number of nineteenth century recipes show you how to make your own.

- Our first example of Harvey’s sauce comes from Eliza Leslie’s Directions For Cookery, in Its Various Branches, published in London during 1840. She mashes six anchovies into a pre-imperial 16 oz pint of vinegar and adds 3 Tablespoons mushroom ketchup, 3 Tablespoons ‘India soya,’ (soy sauce), 2 bruised cloves of garlic, ¼ oz of cayenne (about a teaspoon and a half; you can use more) and some cochineal, which is ground bugshell. Skip the cochineal, mix everything else together and steep it in a sealed jar for a couple of weeks, giving it a daily shake. Strain it, bottle it and you are ready to go. If you lack mushroom ketchup use Worcestershire.

- The type of vinegar is not specified but as conscientious readers will expect, the Editor uses malt.

- A variation appears in The Lady’s Own Cookery Book, by Charlotte Campbell Bury, another London imprint, this time from 1844. It is basically the same but for the substitution of Walnut ketchup for the mushroom, but you are even less likely to have that lying around.