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.

Keep Reading

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.

Finish Pasta in the Sauce

Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford: Drain your pasta when it's just al dente, then cook it for a minute or two more in a skillet with the sauce.

How to Pair Pasta with Sauce

Before you pick out a pasta for dinner tonight, think about what sauce you're craving. Different pasta shapes lend themselves better to different pasta sauces and these perfect pairings will ensure the perfect bite.

How to Use Fish Sauce

Learn how to make your own fish sauce to enhance Southeast Asian-inspired dishes at home.

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.

50 Caramel Sauce Treats

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

Make a Lighter Cheese Sauce

To create Food Network Magazine's trimmed-down mac and cheese, we skipped the usual butter-flour roux and used pureed cooked cauliflower as a thickener. Get the recipe.

Give Fish Sauce a Try

Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford: Don't be scared off by a recipe that calls for fish sauce.