The Evolution of Sauces
“Sauce: (noun) 1. Any flavorful soft or liquid dressing or relish served as an accompaniment to food. 2. Stewed or puréed sweetened fruit often served with other foods. 3. Anything that adds zest, flavor or piquancy to something.”
Culinary authors all seem to agree that there was once an insurmountable body of literature on the subject of cooking and gastronomy in ancient Greece. Although, little of it has ceased to survive, possibly due to the catastrophic fire that destroyed the library in Alexandria. However, amidst the written works which did survive was “Art of Cooking” compiled in Syracuse by Mithaecus in the fifth century B.C.
In the fourth century B.C. a man known as Archestratus of Gela, from the ancient town of Sicily, traveled throughout the Mediterranean area as a self-proclaimed gastronomic philosopher. He curiously compiled his observations regarding the eating habits of other nations and set them to poetic verse. During this age sauces were more often thick, full of fat and used to smother ill-prepared dishes. However, I find it interesting that “Archestratus’s culinary style essentially called for lightness and simplicity. He only included the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients; minimal use of fat and salt; the revival of regional cooking styles; innovation and inventiveness; and light sauces, consisting of natural reductions prepared to order.” It’s easy to state that Archestratus was ahead of his time and so much for nouvelle cuisine and our current “new” and “lighter” cooking styles.
An Imperial Roman by the name of Marcus Gavius Apicius
(80 B.C. – 40 A.D.) lived his life around and spent enormous amounts of money to indulge in rich tasting luxurious food and drink. During such time he commissioned and endowed a school for the teaching and promotion of cooking and culinary ideas. As Apicius’ expensive lifestyle dwindled, he decided that life would not be worth living without his gluttonous...
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