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Old 11-21-2004, 07:19 AM   #1
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History of sauces

Found this article very interesting on the history of sauces! :) I hope you find it interesting and informative as I did! :)

Although this article does claim that mayonnaise is French. I'm claiming it's Spanish!!! The French invaded Spain and made invented it while they were there? yeah... right :D More like they invaded and they GOT it from there.



The History of Sauces by Linda Stradley

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. According to the article Food & Cooking in Roman Britain by Marian Woodman:

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. One Roman cook bitterly complained that some of his fellow cooks 'When they season their dinners they don't use condiments for seasoning, but screech owls, which eat out the intestines of the guests alive'. Apicius wrote at the end of one of his recipes for a particularly flavoursome sauce, 'No one at table will know what he is eating'. These 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.


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There are five foundation sauces or basic sauces, called in French 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. See "Mother Sauces" for descriptions of the five basic sauces.


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Aioli (eye-YO-lee) - (French) The French word for garlic is "ail." Sometimes called the "butter of Provence." Aioli is garlic-flavored mayonnaise made from pounded cloves of garlic, egg yolks, oil, and seasoning. Just before it is served, lemon juice and a little cold water are added. It is served as a sauce for a variety of garnishes and main courses.

History: It is believed to have originated in Provence, France. As the landscape of the Provence area is not suited for cows as other areas of France, more for sheep, goats, and olive trees, butter is not a common ingredient in Provencal food. See "mayonnaise."


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Béarnaise sauce (bair-naz) - It is a variation of hollandaise sauce. White wine or vinegar, diced shallots, tarragon, and peppercorns are cooked together and reduced and sieved and then added to hollandaise sauce. The spice tarragon is what gives it a distinctive taste. The sauce is served with beef and some shellfish.

History: Chef Jules Colette at the Paris restaurant called Le Pavillon Henri IV in the 19th century invented Béarnaise sauce in Paris, France. It was named Béarnaise in Henry's honor as he was born in Bearn, France (a region in the Pyreness mountain range in southwest France). It is said that every chef at the restaurant tried to claim the recipe as his own.


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Béchamel Sauce (bay-shah-mel) - In France, it is one of the four basic sauces called "meres" or "mother sauces" from which all other sauces derive. It is also know as "white sauce." It is a smooth, white sauce made from a roux made with flour, boiled milk, and butter. It is usually served with white meats, eggs, and vegetables. It forms the basis of many other sauces.

History: There are four theories on the origin of Béchamel Sauce:

The Italian version of who created this sauce is that it was created in the 14th century and was introduced by the Italian chefs of Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), the Italian-born Queen of France. In 1533, as part of an Italian-French dynastic alliance, Catherine was married to Henri, Duke of Orleans (the future King Henri II of France. It is because of the Italian cooks and pastry makers who followed her to France that the French came to know the taste of Italian cooking that they introduced to the French court. Antonin Carème(1784-1833), celebrated chef and author, wrote in 1822: "The cooks of the second half of the 1700’s came to know the taste of Italian cooking that Catherine de’Medici introduced to the French court."
Béchamel Sauce was invented by Duke Philippe De Mornay (1549-1623), Governor of Saumur, and Lord of the Plessis Marly in the 1600s. Béchamel Sauce is a variation of the basic white sauce of Mornay. He is also credited with being the creator of Mornay Sauce, Sauce Chasseur, Sauce Lyonnaise, and Sauce Porto.
Marquis Louis de Béchamel (1603–1703), a 17th century financier who held the honorary post of chief steward of King Louis XIV's (1643-1715) household, is also said to have invented Béchamel Sauce when trying to come up with a new way of serving and eating dried cod. There are no historical records to verify that he was a gourmet, a cook, or the inventor of Béchamel Sauce. The 17th century Duke of Escars is credited with stating: "That fellow Béchameil has all the luck! I was serving breast of chicken a la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce."
It is more likely that Chef Francois Pierre de La Varenne (1615-1678) created Béchamel Sauce. He was a court chef during King Louis XIV's (1643-1715) reign, during the same time that Béchamel was there. La Varenne is often cited as being the founder of haute cuisine. La Varenne wrote "Le Cuisinier Francois," which included Béchamel Sauce. It is thought that he dedicated it to Béchamel as a compliment.

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Chasseur Sauce - Chasseur is French for hunter. It is a hunter-style brown sauce consisting of mushrooms, shallots, and white wine (sometimes tomatoes and parsley). It is most often served with game and other meats.

History: It is thought that Chasseur sauce was invented by Duke Philippe De Mornay (1549-1623), Governor of Saumur, and Lord of the Plessis Marly in the 1600s. He was a great protestant writer and called the protestant pope. It is said that he also invented Mornay Sauce, Sauce Béchamel, Sauce Lyonnaise, and Sauce Porto.

Chasseur, or "Hunter Style" was meant for badly shot game or tough old birds. The birds were always cut up to remove lead shot or torn parts, and often cooked all day on the back of the range if they were old or tough. Originally the veggies used were ones hunters would find while they hunted. This can be scaled up.


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Coulis coo-LEE) - (1) A French culinary term. It is a type of a sauce, usually a t hick one, which derives it body (either entirely or in part), from pureed fruits or vegetables. A sauce of cooked down tomatoes can be a tomato coulis as can a puree of strained blackberries. (2) Today coulis also means a thick soup made with crayfish, lobster, prawns, and other crustaceans - the word being used where bisque has formerly been used.

History: In old English cookbooks, the world "cullis" is found but this has fallen into disuse and "coulis" has taken its place. At one time, coulis were sauces and also the juices which flowed from roasting meat. Some cooks called liquids purees coulis, but only those prepared with chicken, game, fish, crustaceans, and some vegetables.


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[/b]Hollandaise Sauce (butter) - Uses butter and egg yolks as binding. It is served hot with vegetables, fish, and eggs (like egg benedict). It will be a pale lemon color, opaque, but with a luster not appearing oily. The basic sauce and its variations should have a buttery-smooth texture, almost frothy, and an aroma of good butter. Making this emulsified sauce requires a good deal of practice — it is not for the faint of heart. Béarnaise sauce, which is "related" to hollandaise sauce, is most often served with steak.

History: Hollandaise mean Holland-style or from Holland. This is a French sauce that originated in 19th century French cusine. Most historians agree that it was originally called Sauce Isigny after a town in Normandy known for its butter. During World War I, butter production came to a halt in France and had to be imported from Holland. The name was changed to hollandaise to indicate the source of the butter and was never changed back.


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Marinara (mah-ree-NAH-rah) - Means "sailor" in Italian (sailor style of tomato sauce). A spicy, quickly cooked pasta sauce of Italian origins but far more popular in American restaurants featuring southern Italian cruisines than in most of Italy


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Mayonnaise (MAY-uh-nayz) - Mayonnaise is an emulsion consisting of oil, egg, vinegar, condiments, and spices.

History: When first invented, it was called Mahonnaise. The sauce got its present name of mayonnaise purely by accident through a printing error in an early cookbook.

There are many conflicting stories on the origin of mayonnaise:

Most authorities believe the first batch of this mixture of egg yolks, oil and seasonings was whipped up to celebrate the 1756 French capture of Mahon, a city on the Spanish Isle of Minorca, by forces under Louis-Francois-Armad de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu. Besides enjoying a reputation as a skillful military leader, the Duke was also widely known as a bon vivant with the odd habit of inviting his guests to dine in the nude. The Duke, or more likely, his personal chef, is credited with inventing this edible monument to that strategic success.
Early French immigrant cooks that originally lived in Fort Mahon brought the original recipe to Minnesota. An old superstition is that a woman should not attempt to make mayonnaise during menstruation time, as the mayonnaise will simply not blend together as well.

Marie Antoine Careme (1784-1833), celebrated French chef and author, proclaimed that mayonnaise was derived from the word magnonaise (magner means “made by hand” or “stir”).
The French cities Bayonne and Mayons also claim to be the place of birth of mayonnaise.
Others claim it received it name from the Old French word "moyeu," meaning, "egg yok."
In 1910, Nina Hellman, a German immigrant from New York City, made a dressing that her husband, Richard Hellman, used on the sandwiches and salads he served in his New York delicatessen. He started selling the spread in "wooden boats" that were used for weighing butter. Initially he sold two versions of the recipe, and to differentiate between the two, he put a blue ribbon around one. In 1912, there was such a great demand for the "ribbon" version, that Hellmann designed a "Blue Ribbon" label, which he placed on larger glass jars. He did so well that he started a distribution business, purchased a fleet of trucks, and in 1912 built a manufacturing plant. Also Best Foods, Inc. in California did the same. Hellman and Best Foods later merged and account for about 45% of all bottled mayonnaise sole in the United States


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Newburg Sauce - An American sauce that was created at the famous Delmonico Restaurant in New York City by their French chef, M. Pascal. This elegant sauce is composed of butter, cream, egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings. It is usually served over buttered toast points. The sauce is also used with other foods, in which case the dish is usually given the name "Newburg."

History: The sauce was originally named after a Mr. Wenburg, a frequent guest at the Delmonico restaurant. Mr. Wenburg and the boss of the Delmoico had an argument, thus causing Wenburg to insist that the sauce be renamed. The first three letters were changed to "New" instead of "Wen" to create the name "Newberg."


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Mother Sauces - Also called Grand Sauces. These are the five most basic sauces that every cook should master. Antonin Careme, founding father of French "grande cuisine," came up with the methodology in the early 1900's by which hundreds of sauces would be categorized under five Mother Sauces, and there are infinite possibilities for variations, since the sauces are all based on a few basic formulas. Sauces are one of the fundamentals of cooking. Know the basics and you'll be able to prepare a multitude of recipes like a professional. Learn how to make the basic five sauces and their most common derivatives. The five Mother Sauces are:

Bechamel Sauce (white)

Veloute Sauce (blond)

Brown (demi-glace) or Espagnole Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce (butter)

Tomato Sauce (red)


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Remoulade (ray-muh-LAHD) – A chilled flavored mayonnaise used in French cuisine. It includes mayonnaise, anchovies or anchovy paste, mustard, capers, and chopped pickles that are served as a dressing for cold meats, poultry or seafood.


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Veloute Sauce (veh-loo-TAY) - Also called sauce blanche grasse or fat white sauce, rich white sauce. One of the five "mother sauces." It is a stock-based white sauce that can be made from chicken, veal, or fish stock thickened with white roux. See Mother Sauces for more information.

Allemande Sauce - Veal veloute with egg yolk and cream liaison.

Supreme Sauce - Chicken veloute reduced with heavy cream

Vin Blanc Sauce - Fish veloute with shallots, butter, and fines herbs.

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Old 11-21-2004, 09:25 AM   #2
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My culinary vocabulary and understanding is grateful to you, Leaf Storm, for its grown in reading this offering!

Thank you for posting this!
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Old 11-21-2004, 09:45 AM   #3
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hehe, you are most welcome! :)

Happy to be saucy on the forum ;)
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Old 11-21-2004, 03:42 PM   #4
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When I can conquer these, I believe I can call myself a real cook. Still working on perfecting plain old Americansky gravy.
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