Cooking Sauce

Cooking Sauce

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The word “sauce” is a French word that means a relish to make our food more appetizing.  Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid foods devised to make other foods look, smell, and taste better, and hence be more easily digested and more beneficial.

What is Cooking Sauce ?

The word “sauce” is a French word that means a relish to make our food more appetizing.  Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid foods devised to make other foods look, smell, and taste better, and hence be more easily digested and more beneficial.

Because of the lack of refrigeration in the early days of cooking, meat, poultry, fish, and seafood didn’t last long.  Sauces and gravies were used to mask the flavor of tainted foods.

 

200 A.D. – The Romans used sauces to disguise the taste of the food.  Possibly to conceal doubtful freshness.

The main course, or primae mensai varied both in the number and elaboration of dishes.  Roast and boiled meat, poultry, game or other meat delicacies would be served.  No dish was complete without its highly flavoured and seasoned sauce.  Contrary to present day preference, the main object seemed to be to disguise the natural taste of food – possibly to conceal doubtful freshness, possibly to demonstrate the variety of costly spices available to the host.  Sometimes so many ingredients were used in a sauce it was impossible to single out any one flavour.

Sauces were usually thickened with wheat flour or crumbled pastry.  Honey was often incorporated into a ‘sweet-sour’ dish or sauce.  Highly flavoured sauces often containing as many as a dozen ingredients were extensively used to mask the natural flavours of Roman food.  The most commonly used seasoning was liquamen, the nearest equivalent today being a very strong fish stock, with anchovies as its main ingredient.  This was so popular that it was factory-produced in many towns in the Roman empire.

There are Five Foundation Sauces or Basic Sauces (Grandes Sauces or Sayces Meres), two of them have a record of two hundred years behind them; they are the “bechamelle” and the “mayonnaise”.  They have lasted so long, not only because they are very good, but also because they are so adaptable and provide a fine basis for a considerable number of other sauces.

The other three, which also date back to the 18th century, are the “veloute,” the “brune,” and the “blonde.”  These five sauces still provide the basis for making of many modern sauces, but no longer of most of them.

Modern sauces may be divided into two classes: the “Careme” and “Escoffier” classes.  Among the faithful, in the great kitchen of the world, Escoffier is to Careme what the New Testament is to the Old.

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