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Old 04-08-2006, 07:01 AM   #11
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Good golly.

My favorite cookbook is my little old Escoffier Cook Book that I purchased for $10.95 some twenty years ago or so.

I go back to it all the time.

It, along with James Beard and Julia taught me how to cook, at home. Am a humble home cook, but enjoy doing it.

Escoffier taught me method, not recipe.

The five mother sauces always confused me because I could not think of any reason why all of these were mother sauces.

To me a mother sauce should be able to have babies, to be the basis from which other sauces are derived.

That is certainly true with espagnole. You start with that and can go with it in many ways, even up to my favorite, Perigueux sauce. To me espagnole is a mother sauce.

And one can mess with bechamel and Hollandaise a bit, but the options are limited.

And heck if I know why Escoffier tossed in tomato sauce, a favorite sauce of mine, as a mother sauce.

To discuss what is a mother sauce or not, to me, serves no purpose.

Give Careme and Escoffier their due, let the five sauces stand.

And let us just enjoy cooking.

And thanks for all you great folks on DC.
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:51 AM   #12
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What about the "Chef's Secret Sauce"?
In the restaurant I once worked in, if a customer was being too demanding, he got the "secret sauce"... Probably it was the 7th Mother Sauce... served world-wide, but not taught at the CIA or Le Cordon Bleu.
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:09 PM   #13
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I have an old Escoffier's Basic Elements of Fine Cookery. 1966
It's got more sauces than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 04-14-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
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Both “ironchef” and “Godweed of the North” are right on their opinion as far as mother sauces is concerned. It slightly differs between mother sauces, contemporary sauces, and other varieties of sauce that are mostly derived from the mother sauces except for vinaigrette. Ironchef had simplified the definition and Godweed of the North stretch it a little further.

My advice for anyone who wanted to remember all the mother sauces particularly those who are not practicing it on a daily basis just try to add my little idea to ironchef’s definition.

I called it the BETH V or:

B for Béchamel
E for Espagnole or Brown Sauce
T for Tomato Sauce
H for Hollandaise and

V for Veloute

To memorize it, is not an option since it is easy to forget, the best way is to put it in practice. Culinary is an Art and Craftsmanship. The only way to understand the mother sauces and learned how it behaves is to put it into action; Practice, practice, practice, practice, and a thousand of practice.

Along the way mistake will occur like burning the roux for example, but we learned always from mistakes. Until such time that we can make it at the same time doing several other things in the stove on fire. This time you have the control of everything around your working space. In the school if you were assigned to do Béchamel a student focus is only at the making of roux and adding the milk slowly into the sauce pan; against in the industry that you might have six burning stove that needs your attention. Balancing act is part of the craftsmanship in culinary field, having six stove on fire is just like walking in the wire at the circus, we don need to master it.
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:12 PM   #15
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To discuss what is a mother sauce or not, to me, serves no purpose.

Aunt Dot, there is a purpose of talking about mother sauces. In the industry this is one of the basic knowledge for the cooks or chefs.

In culinary school this is the first subjects that are introduced aside from knife skills mastering the cutting of fine julienne, regular julienne or “allumette”, “batonnet”, fine brunoise, brunoise, small dice, medium dice, large dice, square or “paysanne,” diamond shape or “lozenge”, “tournet”, bias, and choffinade. Spices, and herbs familiarization by looking at it, smelling, and tasting. Different types of vinegars and oils as well.

If you have a chance to ask a culinary graduate about mother sauces and they cannot explain it to you; it gives you a signal that this student had passed the course by just attending the class with out the benefit of learning.

In private home cooking maybe this is not a big deal but in the industry it is. Every culinary student spent and enormous amount of money to study this course and if learning of mother sauce is taken for granted, this student will regret once they entered into the industry. Because they will end up doing “prep” short for vegetable preparation slicing and slicing forever. Career growth is dim and not possible. Every Executive Chef probable questions is, “What are the five mother sauces?”

There are a big difference in home cooking and industry cooking. Just for example the terms alone such as; melon baller or cutter at home, in the industry it is called “parissianne” and baking pan or baking sheet at home, it is called in the industry as “sheet pan”.

Universally known chefs like George Auguste Escoffier (1874-1935), Marie-Antoine Carệme (1784-1833) are the first known chefs that remake the history of culinary arts. Their ideas are still adopted up to the modern generation but so many contributions are attributed to the next generations of chefs.

It is an open field that is continuously changing, mother sauces, mirepoix (vegetable and herbs use in making stocks), concasee or roguh chop, hacher or fine chop, macedoine medium dice for fruit, emincer fine slices example onions, cisler/chiffonade fine slices for greens, and tournet or football shape cut with seven sides are old technique that haven’t change. Even the word "fushion” that is a new craze in this country; it has been in the industry for a long time even at our own home we are doing it while preparing our tea, this is one good example of the fusion technique.

I had been a private chef for quite a long time and still I went to culinary school since I realized that buying or relying with recipes that are found in the books is not just enough. Formal training is a must for anybody aspiring to become a professional chef. The only exception is Rachel Ray but still she does not accept that she is a chef.

Hopefully, I had contributed something to this topic.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:27 AM   #16
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I can't think of a topic that gets the juices going faster in a cook/chef than to ask this question!! I'm surprised at the uniformity in the answers here - good for all of us!

In school, right off the bat, I just memorized them as the 'Virgin BETH' - made my life easier!
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Old 04-17-2007, 12:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjs
I can't think of a topic that gets the juices going faster in a cook/chef than to ask this question!! I'm surprised at the uniformity in the answers here - good for all of us!

In school, right off the bat, I just memorized them as the 'Virgin BETH' - made my life easier!
"Virgin BETH" is easier to remember than my way, I agree with you Sir! See I learned something. Thanks by the way…

As far as learning is concerned it never stop, even the Master Chef’s they continues searching and learning more and more. Culinary is addiction just like any other addictive substance; but this is the only addiction that is challenging and of course does not need a rehabilitation.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechef1955
Formal training is a must for anybody aspiring to become a professional chef.
I don't know that that's very true. Maybe in the past, but not anymore. Just look at Thomas Keller. And I'm sure there are other great chefs besides him running great restaurants that never had formal training.

This has actually been a topic revisited by my mind many times recently, as I'm about to finish getting my BS. Should I go to culinary school or not? It costs a lot of money, and from what I understood it simply teaches fundamemtals. Knife skills. How to braise. How to roast. How to saute. What is mirepoux, or the Mother Sauces? What is the proper method for making stock? Certainly these are all fundamental things to a successful kitchen and you would expect your chef and his staff to know such things, but it was only 2 days ago that I was talking with my co-workers, most of whom have been to culinary school, when I asked for clarification. What EXACTLY did they teach you to do at school? And the answer I recieved was overwhelmingly "We learned in 2 years at school, what you learned in your first three months working in this kitchen." And it made sense. There isn't a task in the kitchen that isn't built from some fundamental that must first be learned before being able to complete that task.

So while it seems you can learn the fundamentals of classical cooking without formal training, I do believe that distinctions should be made. For the modern at-home cook, the mother sauces are probably more along the lines of mayo, vinaigrette, and basic cream sauces and reductions. For the industry cook/chef it is important to know the classical method and be able to execute it properly. It is necesary to make stocks and be know how to do so properly. It is important to know Espagnole, Veloute, Hollandaise, Tomato, and Bechamel. Is it so for the home-cook? Maybe not. Many classical methods are very time consuming and are really very impractical for the home cook.
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:51 AM   #19
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I guess I'm in the group thinking that culinary school is not for everyone...but, having said that, I'm also of the group that thinks you need to know the rules to break the rules. By going to school, you receive a solid background of knowledge that will then lead you to know how to 'play' with food.

ACF (American Culinary Federation) has an Apprenticeship program they sponsor that is geared towards the cooks who must work as they go to school - it's a long committment, three years, but the $$$$ are right and you receive a well-rounded education, plus develop networking with other chefs that is invaluable.

chef1955, change that Sir to Ma'am and we're buddies again... ;)
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjs
I guess I'm in the group thinking that culinary school is not for everyone...but, having said that, I'm also of the group that thinks you need to know the rules to break the rules. By going to school, you receive a solid background of knowledge that will then lead you to know how to 'play' with food.

ACF (American Culinary Federation) has an Apprenticeship program they sponsor that is geared towards the cooks who must work as they go to school - it's a long committment, three years, but the $$$$ are right and you receive a well-rounded education, plus develop networking with other chefs that is invaluable.

chef1955, change that Sir to Ma'am and we're buddies again... ;)
I apologize for that error Ma'am CJS; I presume earlier that I was communicating with a Sous Chef, and those positions were mostly held by males, Sorry again for that shortcoming. We always learned from mistakes.

ACF is true and I encourage the young generations to utilize this advice, I will leave it to them. At my part, I am close to the retirement stage so time is so short for me. Ten years down the road and I will be there, might done some culinary volunteer chores when times come to share what I’ve got at this field to the next generation and future chefs.
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