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Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making Hardcover – January 27, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2nd edition (January 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471292753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471292753
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Back in 1991, when the first edition of Sauces was published, it's as though James Peterson said, "Okay, this is what we know so far. Where do you want to go from here?" The "what we know so far" part started with the Greeks and Romans, moved through the Middle Ages, into the Renaissance, through the 17th and 18th centuries, and right on into time as we know it, time that can be tasted in the sauce.

The "where do you want to go" part continues to evolve, as it always will, but remains just as evident in the way we sauce our creations, both elegant and fundamental. In the second edition of Sauces, released seven years after the first, the "we" has expanded beyond Frenchmen and their disciples, and now includes the broader range of flavors experienced by Italians as pasta sauces, as well as New World cooks and their counterparts in the Middle East and throughout greater Asia. The solid base from which all this grows, however, remains the lessons learned in the French kitchen--and a better kitchen for such lessons has never been developed.

To cook is one thing, to sauce another. The right sauce lifts the right dish to a wholly different plateau of dining than would be the case if the cook didn't bother. This can be a humble pasta sauce created as a perfect balance of ingredients on hand, or a carefully considered sauce the ingredients of which have been developed at the stove over days, not mere hours.

In the sauce can be seen the reflection of the cook. There is no room to hide. In the well-crafted sauce can be found the ultimate expression of simplicity, which leaves even less room to hide. It is James Peterson's great talent that he can draw the home cook and professional cook into his dialogue on sauces, and teach them both how to stay afloat in such shallow waters.

Peterson gives the reader--in close to 600 pages, mind you--the continuum on which sauces have been based in culinary history. He gives the reader the kitchen science that allows sauces to work. He gives the reader the techniques necessary to follow along where many a cook has already whisked up a splendid creation. But most of all, he gives the reader permission to go ahead and be creative, to cut loose with knowledge and technique in hand and discover for oneself the way an inkling of a flavor idea can find its way to a dish and make the combined ingredients lift off the plate. Or not. Finding out what doesn't work can be just as important.

This is a book that can be taken to bed and savored, page by page, sauce by sauce. It is a book that should be on the shelf in any kitchen, professional or homebody alike. It is not a book to ever gather dust and need dusting. --Schuyler Ingle

From the Publisher

Sauces, winner of the1991 James Beard Cookbook-of-the-Year award and the ultimate reference for sauce making, is now available in a new, update and expanded edition. With more than 325 recipes in all, this book includes all-new chapters on Asian sauces and pasta sauces, plus new recipes that cater to lighter, contemporary tastes.

More About the Author

James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, and cooking teacher who started his career as a restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. He is the author of fifteen titles, including "Sauces," his first book and a 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and "Cooking," a 2008 James Beard Award winner. He has been one of the country's preeminent cooking instructors for more than 20 years and currently teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's) in New York. He is revered within the industry and highly regarded as a professional resource. James Peterson cooks, writes, and photographs from Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The credit belongs to Mr. Peterson.
P. Raphaelson
Everything you could possibly want to know about making a sauce is in this book.
Amazon Customer
This book is for professionals and serious home cooks.
Cosmas Bisticas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Ronald S. Montefusco on November 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I've been dabbeling in sauces for a number of years in my home kitchen. In my considerable collection of cookbooks none attempt to teach a culinary subject with the thoroughness of this effort. The book assumes a general knowledge of cooking, such as what temperature to roast your chicken at, and focuses on the theory behind what your sauce should do. While the book contains many recipes, they are presented as illustrations of various types of classic sauces. The author encourages the reader to experiment and fine tune their sauce efforts by illustrating the classic techniques and recipes.
In all my years cooking and collecting cookbooks this is the first cookbook that I have read cover to cover. While you can simply peruse the recipes and use the book as a reference it really shines when read in its entirety. If one is really interested in French sauces and the theory and technique behind them, this book is all that will ever be needed on the subject. And if you're wondering what kind of sauce to make with those lamb chops tonight...
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110 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Sykes on February 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Sauces" is a book for professionals and serious home chefs and is the first book I've seen that compares and contrasts both classical and modern sauce-making methods. The author emphasizes the importance of quality stocks in sauce-making and points out that a stock appropriate for older, roux-based techniques is often inappropriate for more modern, reduction techniques. This explains why the stocks formulated in, say, the French Culinary Institute's "Salute to Healthy Cooking" are so much more concentrated than those in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and other classic French cooking texts. Peterson also includes methods for pan-prepared (integral) sauces that offer the professional and home cook alike a rapid way to prepare an impressive array of fine foods.
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90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`Sauces, 2nd Edition ' by leading food teacher and writer James Peterson is high on my list of important, valuable single subject cookbooks which should be in the kitchen library of any serious amateur chef or professional chef in training.

The very first impression is the very large number of named sauces listed in the table of contents. And, it should be no surprise at all that almost every one of these sauces has a French name, even if the sauce is based on a non-French ingredient such as Sauce Hongroise based on paprika and Sauce Porto based on Port (originating in Portugal). Of the chapters covering eighteen different kinds of sauce, only one, the chapter on `Salad Sauces, Vinaigrettes, Salsas, and Relishes' has even the slimmest majority of recipes with a non-French cant, with its large selection of Spanish and New World salsas, south Asian chutneys, Greek mint lamb sauce, and American cranberry sauce.

The book opens with a short history of sauces, which becomes more interesting the more you know about Medieval and Renaissance cooking. The book even gives something missing from books on medieval cooking, the outline of an actual recipe for the ubiquitous verjuice, which was the Medieval and Renaissance source for sour tastes, which could be prepared from either grapes or apples. Just for fun, Peterson gives a few samples of Medieval and Renaissance recipes. The most interesting observation I found for culinary history was the statement that in the Middle Ages, sauces were thickened by pureeing meat, which is not at all surprising, as Medieval nobility looked down on all vegetable products (such as flour?) and preferred animal ingredients and spices in their dishes.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By mtspace on September 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I was in grade school I observed that the food with the best flavor always ended up stuck to the pan. Over decades of reading cookbooks this became the emperor's clothes of cooking to me. It was in reading Peterson's Sauces that I had my epiphany: Continental chefs had been taking advantage of this fact for centuries in their preparation of tasty sauces. For me this turned the world of cooking on its ear. In my own experience, Sauces was the single most important cookbook I could ever have bought.

In this book Peterson meticulously explores every style of sauce, starting with the backbone ingredients and working through the flavoring additions. He develops the topic of 'integral' sauces beautifully. And this alone is worth the full price of the book. Gravies, flavored mayonaises, the classic French white sauces, purees of vegetables, gelees, and more are to be found here. The book is encyclopedic in scope, meticulous in its explanations, brimming with love of the topic.

While every good cook must one day master the ideas in this book, not every cook is ready for this book. Peterson was trained as a chemist before he was trained as a chef. And as a chef he works as a teacher. So he is much more interested in teaching you to think about sauces for yourself than in giving you a list of specific recipes for specific sauces. Many of the recipes are written for commercial kitchens, making translation to home use even more difficult. If you are a 'recipe cook' and are just interested in 1000 detailed step-by-step recipes for 1000 specific sauces, this book will disappoint. Nor is this an ideal book for anyone who has less than half a dozen good cookbooks and as many years of kitchen experience - unless one is training as a chef.
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