Help me source books or websites on, er, sauces?
November 24, 2016 4:19 AM   Subscribe

I’ve decided that through 2017 I want to focus my home cooking experiments on sauces; can anyone point me to useful resources?

I already know how to make a host of basic things – hollandaise, brown butters, bechemel & mornay, a passable sweet & sour, sticky soy caramel, etc, but I want to be a bit more systematic and learn a broader range, esp. from outside Europe. Ideally what I'm after is The five mother sauces from every country in the world + 1000s of variations all laid out in a systematic way Cookery book but it's hard to tell from a google which of the 9 zillion sauce cookery books is any good for this. So, recommendations?

I’d be happy to hear about sauce-focused blogs, or specific recommendations for recipe books that are strong on sauces (inc. salad dressings, I guess? I’m open to being vague about this…), or your own magical online collection of sauce recipes, or…whatever might help me make the Ur-book of sauces Worked Through Rationally. My dream find is a blog along the lines of Julie/Julia which has already worked this all out for me.
Important Caveat: vegetarian, so no need for fish sauces, meat-based stocks, etc.
posted by AFII to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Sauces by James Peterson is a pretty solid reference book; although it might be a little meat-heavy on account of the entire neighbourhood of stock-based sauces.
posted by ambilevous at 5:37 AM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I was very impressed by Mastering Sauces by Susan Volland. It starts with basic principles of sauce-making and works through those principles with a wide variety of sauces. There's a section on curries and another section on stir fry sauces, as well as a variety of international elements included in the not-explicitly-international listings. Volland also gives a solid treatment of non-meat based options throughout the text.

It starts at a very basic level, and if you're looking for just a list of recipes this isn't the right book. But, if you want to start thinking like a saucier and get a solid starting point to start making your own variations, this is a great book.
posted by philosophygeek at 6:11 AM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also The Saucier's Apprentice - I haven't put it to use yet, but Amazon reviewers like it, for what that's worth.
posted by mmiddle at 6:21 AM on November 24, 2016

Rouxbe online cooking school covers all the 'mother sauces' with excellent videos, and is also very good for vegetarian cooking overall.
posted by Coda Tronca at 6:40 AM on November 24, 2016

I learnt the five mother sauces from Gastronomie Pratique by Ali-Bab - it is still recommendable and has tons of vegetable recipes. Make sure to get a full version if you get one. But it seems you have the French tradition down. Do you also have The Silver Spoon - the Italian equivalent? There are tons of delicious sauces in the Italian cuisine that you never see out of their region in Italy.
Like you I am looking for something similar outside Europe, and am finding it difficult to navigate because the food/meal structures are different and I don't know where to begin. I have some classic cookbooks, by for instance Kenneth Lo and Madhur Jaffrey - do you have them? But I don't yet use them enough, because I don't know how to. This is where the woks of life come in: the common blog of a very adventurous Chinese American family, who travel everywhere and cook everything. I find their posts very inspiring, and their recipes easy to follow and delicious. Through them, I am learning some Asian techniques that make the books I have easier to read. They are carnivores, but I have more than once adapted a recipe to a veg version.
Similarily, you can find youtube videos of Indian cooking that are very inspiring and fun to look at for more reasons than just the cooking technique.
Yoram Ottolenghi has a lot of good recipes from within the North African/Israeli/Arab traditions, he writes for the Guardian, but you have to find the sauces he uses in his books or by reading through tons of recipes. Mostly, they are more like dipping sauces.
posted by mumimor at 7:35 AM on November 24, 2016

I should probably add that yes: I have a fairly big collection of 'classic' Anglo-European/North American cookbooks, with quite a few retro classics e.g. Julia Child, thrown in there too. I'm a bit lighter on the rest of the world, but have the more mainstream stuff e.g. Jaffrey, Lo, etc.
posted by AFII at 8:10 AM on November 24, 2016

If you want to work backwards, there's Wikipedia's list of sauces by region
posted by Room 641-A at 9:31 AM on November 24, 2016

Strangely, I fell over this today: JOURNEY TO THE HOME OF KOREA'S MOTHER SAUCES
posted by mumimor at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2016

Try Get Saucy which covers a lot of areas and flavor profiles.
posted by jadepearl at 7:25 PM on November 24, 2016

Escoffier's A guide to modern cookery is pretty strong on sauces, even if many of them are not that fashionable. (I'm thinking here the sauce where you use the juice of half a kilo of caviar...)
posted by kmt at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2016

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