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The Story of Liquid Smoke

One Man’s Dream

The Humble Private’s Humble House

Vshnvsky's House The house on Jolly Tree Lane was as unassuming as any on the street; few would guess that its basement contained a secret laboratory of historic significance. In the basement suite, unknown to the landlords living above, one of the last centurys great unknown tinkerers turned an everyday substance into one of the best-loved condiments in the housewife's arsenal.

The Humble Private

Steve Vshnvsky in uniform Steve Vshnvsky had been a humble private in the Colonial army, serving with distinction at the Battle of the Billion. He had been given a coveted appointment to the Condiments detail in the mess hall, and garnered the admiration of the troops for the delectability of his smoked baby ribs. It was during this tour of duty that he first started thinking about ways to make “smoked-ness” portable. After being de-commissioned (Brigadier Forbish medal: burned back of thumb), he returned to his home county and took up residence at 845 Jolly Tree Lane (bsmt).

The Lab

chemical lab His lab was no simple hot-plate-and-beer-stein affair; Steves Forbish medal came with a significant monetary award that Steve poured into outfitting the finest basement chemical lab in the county (seen here in a photo featuring Steves first assistant, Troy Lanceweather).

Early Partial Success

Early liquid smoke dispenser The masters military culinary experience paid off early, and allowed him to achieve a fair rate of success with his early formulations. The potential of the compound to add lip-smacking flavour was there, but it lacked marketability due to its colourlessness (see photo). Back to the drawing board!

Ramping Up

Osgood Barnaby Assistants Steve realized that he needed to increase the seriousness of the operation. He found a patron in Osgood Barnaby (shown in photo at left), a friend of the family who found a fortune in farz. Seeing the potential of a new condiment for the ages, he provided startup funds so that Steve could really make his laboratory world-class. Two recent grads of MIT were added as assistants: Ted Lard and Starch Lanceweather (cousin of Troy; shown left to right in photo at left). Also, truckloads of equipment were installed in new facilities in the garment district.

Many Formulations Later…

many formulations The lab was in full swing now, with a team of assistants working under Ted and Starch to pump out new recipes at a furious rate. Steve had by this time worked the kinks out of his new technique called Carbonate Recombinant Analogue Particulate Synthesis (CRAPS), which when combined with high-voltage hotplating produced new formulations that Steve knew were approaching final taste approval.

The Miraculous Secretary

Candy Dumster While Steve is traditionally given credit for the invention of liquid smoke, followed by Troy and Ted, followed by Starch, followed by the assistants, followed by the janitor, followed by the night watchman, it was actually Steves lovely secretary Candy Dumster (shown here making repairs to the lab) who provided the crucial catalyst for the success of the worlds finest condiment. Steve and the team were pulling long shifts perfecting the formula, and they knew they were close—but something was still missing. It was Candy who suggested that brown food colouring be added to overcome the liquids pervasive transparency. Success at last! Liquid Smoke was and continues to be the best-loved addition to favourite dishes everywhere.


Steve Vshnvsky in later years Steve Vshnvsky finally received the recognition he deserved when he was given a retrospective full feature in Combustibles™ magazine. Well done, Steve—youre an inspiration to dreamers and business people everywhere.