5 Mother Sauces

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  • Topic: Sauce, French cuisine, Tomato sauce
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  • Published : May 4, 2012
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Five Mother Sauces

Throughout the history of cuisine; sauces have been used as a basis for many regional styles of cuisine. A sauce is defined as a liquid or semi-solid food served on or in the process of preparing other foods. Sauces are created to accompany other foods and make them look, smell, and taste better. They are easily digested and nutritionally beneficial. Sauces are not served by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, aromas, and visual appeals to a finished dish. Today there are many different compound or small sauces that can be seen worldwide, however these small sauces are linked to and are derived from the five classified mother sauces. Two French chefs that contributed to the creation of these fundamental sauces are, Marie-Antoine Crème; who was responsible for classifying the sauces into recognizable procedures, and Aguste Escoffier who refined the classified sauces into “Families” that are still recognized today.

Careme was known as the king of cooks and the cook of kings. This is because famous French diplomats, and royalty such as, Prince de Talleyrand, King George the IV & Tsar Alexander of Russia. He worked his way up from a middle class cook to a well known respected chef. Careme was a master of French, Grande cuisine which was regional to his home in Paris. He was one of the first chefs to create dishes that used architecture in his presentation to visually please the eye. He was known to be the first chef to standardize the use of a roux for a thickening agent in the sauces. Careme was responsible for creating a system that classified four of the five mother sauces. These include: Allemande- stock with egg yolk & lemon juice, Béchamel- flour and milk, Espagnole - brown stock; and Veloute — white stock. These four foundation sauces were called grandes sauces. Two of them have a record of two hundred years behind them prior to Careme; they are the "béchamel" 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. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that carame’s classification was altered from the Grande cuisine by Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier simplified the profusion of flavors, and garnishes derived from Careme’s work. He simplified the classification so it could be recognized throughout the culinary region that used the fundamentals of the sauces. Escoffier eliminated allemande since it is a derivative of veloute. Hollandaise & mayonnaise (Emulsification sauces) took its place with the similar concept of thickening with egg yolks. He also added Tomato to encompass tomato based dishes. Tomatoes grew in popularity in Europe since Carme’s early Grande cuisine. Even though careme was known for classifying the four main sauces with procedures, Escoffier simplified these from Grande cuisine to the classic cuisine. Both these authors and chefs were known to influence the fundamentals of the cooking world. The mother sauces that Escoffier recognized are Béchamel (white), Veloute (blonde), Espangnole (brown), Tomato (red), and Hollandaise (emulsification sauce). The five mother sauces are still used today, the influence spread from France, to British and Italian cuisine. For example brown sauce is highly popular in gravies and thick stews in the British cuisine. Ware as the Italians are known to combine tomato or béchamel with their pasta dishes. Because of the lack of refrigeration in the early days of cooking, meat, poultry, fish, and seafood didn't last long. Combined with a scarce food source, Sauces and gravies were used to mask the flavor of potentially tainted foods. The Grande sauces are the foundation of the entire classic cuisine of hot sauces. The classic five mother sauces can be seasoned and garnished to create a wide variety of small sauces. These five leading sauces differ from one another by the liquids and thickeners used to create...
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