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The Saucier's Apprentice: A Modern Guide to Classic French Sauces for the Home Hardcover – March 12, 1976

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"In our age, which probably will be tagged by future historians as the age of oversimplification, [this] book on sauces will stand as an important statement against the trend of no craftsmanship. At the same time, it is great reading -- a book which I will enjoy for many years to come."
-- George Lang,

author of The Cuisine of Hungary

"[Raymond Sokolov] has found a way to systematize the different families of sauces -- something no one before has done -- and I found the whole concept very exciting. This would be a useful book even in France."

-- Simone Beck,

author of Simca's Cuisine

From the Inside Flap

Here is the first book all the great sauces of practical, workable system. Raymond Sokolov, the widely admired former Food Editor of The first to point out that the hitherto mysterious saucier's art, as practiced by the best restaurant chefs, is based on what amounts to an elegant "fast food" technique. And this is what he demonstrates in his unique, useful, and witty book:
-- How to prepare, at your leisure, the three fundamental classic sauces (the "mother" sauces from which all others evolve: Brown, White, and Fish Veloute)...
-- How to freeze them in one-meal-size containers, ready for use at a moment's notice...
-- How to transform any of these basic put-away sauces, quickly and easily, into the exact ones that French chefs are famous for and serve in the finest restaurants...
-- How to prepare the classic dish for which each sauce is traditionally used, with suggestions for enhancing simpler fare (the recipes run the gamut from Duckling a la Bigarade to Poached Eggs Petit-Duc -- that is, with Chateaubriand Sauce).

Mr. Sokolov has conceived, then, a comprehensive collection of recipes -- authoritative, clear, and easy to follow -- as well as an inventive method of cooking for the average kitchen. Peppered with culinary lore and with reassuring accounts of the author's own experiences as a modern-day Saucier's Apprentice, here is a book that will appeal to every good amateur cook who wants to produce sumptuous fare at home for occasions great and small.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (March 12, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394489209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394489209
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Hayford Peirce on June 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you're interested in the great French sauces, this is the book for you. Julia Child is a wonderful beginning in that direction, and she also has arranged the sauces more or less by family. But Sokolov takes it to the ultimate degree, particularly with his classical renditions of the "mother sauces". The sauces you will eventually end up with are generally far better than you will ever get in any restaurant outside of France. And even in France, in these degenerate days, most restaurants take shortcuts in making the brown sauces.
One or two or three caveats: if you make the "mother sauce" espagnole, and then the demi-glace, following his recipe, you are going to need at least *two* enormous, restaurant-sized kettles. I had one very large one to start with and at some point in the proceedings had to go out and buy another one. He wasn't very clear about this.
Plus, he consistently understates the *time* needed to do these recipes, perhaps because he doesn't want to frighten the reader away. He says, for instance, that to make the espagnole-demi-glace, you can do it easily over a weekend in bits and pieces, stepping away from the kitchen occasionally to pass the time with "Fanny Hill" (he's also a wonderfully witty and amusing writer into the bargain). But he is seriously wrong about this particular recipe, the most important one in the book. I am a very experienced cook, and I work fairly quickly, and I undertook this recipe with my French wife, another serious cook, plus occasional help from my mother, *another* very serious cook, and it essentially took *three* days to end up with, as I recall, 18 1-cup frozen portions of demi-glace.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Ervin Nieves on June 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have browsed through many sauce books in the past several years, and found two to be indispensable: Raymond Sokolov's THE SAUCIER'S APPRENTICE and Michel Roux's SAUCES. Both books accomplish their goals impeccably. Roux wishes to present readers with a faster way to produce restaurant quality sauces, providing readers with beautiful appetizing photos for each sauce in the process. It is a book meant not to scare off amateur chefs who are inclined to choose a "Betty Crocker" book rather than a real top notch text on traditional French cooking. Sokolov, on the other hand, appeals to the already converted French gourmet/gourmand. There are no photos, nor are they necessary, since his language is so descriptive and precise, it really creates a photo in your mind.

I spent two days preparing the mother sauce for brown sauces and the result was spectacular. I've eaten at many of the top four and five star restaurants in New York, many restaurants throughout Europe (I lived in Germany near the French border for over three years), many restaurants in Chicago, and have never tasted better sauces than those I produced at home from the mother sauce. Here's the trick. You should follow Sokolov's instructions. After you've been through the process, you can get creative if you wish. But keep in mind Sokolov's goal is to teach amateur and professional chefs how to make TRADITIONAL SAUCES, not modern incarnations that use lots of fruits, etc.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm a culinary student here in New York and I picked up this book on the advise of my chef-instructor. I'm glad I listened to him. This book inspired my instructor to become a chef and to make almost every sauce in the book.
As for the book, it's pretty straightforward. It starts with a brief history of French sauces and then it pretty much goes right into the sauces. There are 5 mother sauces (Sauce Espagnole, Hollandaise, Béchamel, Velouté, and Tomato) and from these 5 you can make hundreds and hundreds of little derivative sauces. For example, take Sauce Espagnole (Brown Sauce). If you combine equal parts of Brown Sauce and Brown Veal Stock and let that reduce, you've got Demi-Glace (Half-Glaze). Now if you sauté some mushrooms, shallots, add some white wine, Madeira, some demi-glace and tomato, you've got Sauce Chasseur.
Here's another example. Take Velouté, add some mushroom liquid and a liaison, and mount the sauce with butter and you've got Sacue Allemande. Now take Sauce Allemande and add three simple ingredients and you've got Sauce Aux Champignons.
There are about 70 pages devoted to just brown sauces. The two most time consuming mother sauces to make is Sauce Espagnole and Velouté. Both require stock, however, Velouté is easy to make since it only takes 30 to 40 minutes to make once you have the stock. Sauce Espagnole, on the other hand, takes about 6 to 8 hours to make. Plus you need brown veal stock which takes anywhere from 8-11 hours to make.
As you can see it's pretty time consuming but if you take one weekend to make enough stock, once you're done you can freeze them in ice cube trays and take them as you need them. Remember the derivative sauces are really quick and simple, it's the mother sauces that take the most time.
If you're serious about cooking, I highly recommend this book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By -/- on January 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The saucemaking of classical French Haute Cuisine is a profession in itself, and there is a 'theory' or method behind it's madness. One begins with a 'sauce mere' (the mother sauce), then converts it in a series of steps (involving the addition of new flavors, the straining of spent ingredients, and concentration by simmering), finally 'finishing' the sauce with the addition of delicate herbs or flavorings that would be lost with continued heating. For example, the sauce mere 'demi-glace' (brown sauce thickened with flour and flavored with herbs and wine) is converted to sauce Robert by concentrating with more wine, and then finishing off the heat with butter and mustard.
This is the best book I've seen on the subject. Serious saucemaking is time consuming, but if the sauce meres are made in quantity and frozen in portions, the final assembly of nearly every sauce in the book may be accomplished as your dinner vegetables steam - by understanding the theory of progression from one sauce to the next, and devoting perhaps one Saturday every few months to keeping an eye on a stock pot, one may enjoy the sophistication of classical Haute Cuisine with the convenience of bottled substitutes. The initial chapters discussing the history of Haute Cuisine is a treat in itself. Most of the 100+ sauce recipes are followed with the recipe for a single classic example dish where it is featured.
When served with a fine sauce, your family and guests will close their eyes and savor every bite of your meal. Nice...
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