With more than one hundred sauce recipes already posted on this site—either as individual recipes or as part of more comprehensive recipes—is it really necessary to add any more? Sure. Some of the 17 recipes included this time have been floating around in my files but have never been posted. Some, chiefly the recipes from over a hundred years ago, were tested and developed especially for this article. Back when I wrote my original sauce article in 2002, I hadn’t yet purchased some of these older books. Now I have, and there is the opportunity to look at a number of two hundred-year old sauce recipes that are not part of the modern-sauce lexicon.
Although sauces have been a part of French cuisine since the first written recipes, stand-alone sauce recipes were rare until the eighteenth century. Fourteenth century and later cookbooks did contain sauce recipes, but these were mostly integral to a dish described in the recipe. It wasn’t until the first half of the nineteenth century that cookbooks began to contain a significant section devoted strictly to sauces. Once again, now in the twenty-first century, it is rare to fine a section devoted to sauces in a cookbook, unless, of course, that is the subject of the book.
I like sauces, and as much as I like a properly cooked steak or chicken breast served au naturel, I also appreciate these with a matching sauce. For me, the proper sauce can add a new dimension to an old, familiar flavor. Just like one day I can wear a red shirt and the next day a blue one, one day I can eat my steak with sauce béarnaise and the next with sauce au pauvre homme; the meals will taste and “feel” different.
With the 17 new recipes that are added with this article, there are now over 125 sauce recipes on this website. That is probably enough for the next six years, but I’m sure that a few more will sneak in from time to time.