sauce


v. To cover or mix a food with a sauce. sauce n. In the most basic terms, a sauce is a flavored liquid designed to accompany food in order to enhance or bring out its flavor. In the days before refrigeration, however, sauces were more often used to smother the taste of foods that had begun to go bad. The French are credited with refining the sophisticated art of saucemaking. It was the 19th-century French chef Antonin Carême who evolved an intricate methodology by which hundreds of derivative sauces were classified under one of four "mother sauces": espagnole (brown stock-based), velouté (white stock-based), béchamel (milk-based), and allemande (egg-enriched velouté). Add to these a fifth group—emulsified sauces, such as hollandaise and mayonnaise. Myriad variations may be created from these five basic sauces by adding ingredients such as cheese, cream, garlic, herbs, shallots, spices and so on.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Next Up

Get Sauced: Celebrate National Sauce Month

We’ve rounded up Food Network's favorite savory and sweet sauces, so that you can add finishing touches to your chicken, seafood and dessert dishes with ease.

Improve Your Sauce

Swirl a few tablespoons of cold butter into a pan sauce before you serve it—you'll be amazed by how it improves the texture.

Taste Test: Hot Sauce

We tasted 5 popular brands of hot sauce and rated them based on flavor, spiciness, cost and nutrition. Find out how your favorite sauce fared.

Make a Boozy Sauce

You don't have to be a chef to look cool in the kitchen: Fire up your pan with these sauces.

Upgrade Your BBQ Sauce

Add bold flavors to store-bought barbecue sauce with these helpful hacks.

Slow Cooker Sundae Sauces

A stress-free way to have fresh, warm, homemade sauces for your next sundae party -- courtesy of your slow cooker and the hosts of The Kitchen.

Surprising Asian Sauce Hacks

A primer on Asian sauces, plus how to use them without adding sky-high amounts of sodium to your diet.

50 Caramel Sauce Treats

Food Network Magazine dreamed up dozens of new ways to use a jar of caramel sauce. 

Taste Test: Cranberry Sauce

A taste test of store-bought cranberry sauces.

Is It Healthy: Hot Sauce

Is this popular condiment healthy? Get the facts.