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Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, 2nd Edition Hardcover – January 27, 1998
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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.
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You should use this book if you want to become familiar with different sauce techniques, you can then apply them in the provided recipes, and then take those techniques and make put your own spin on any sauce you'd like. This is not for someone who wants to just crack it open and throw something together quickly - it is a reference text and it is very detailed. Geared towards the professional chef or serious home cook.
The book is in-depth, divided in 20 different sauce categories, and is the most extensive book on sauces I have ever seen.
I've only just started to wade through it, but I cant wait as I am a strong believer that a good sauce makes the dish.
Thanx for providing me with this invaluable tome - it's much appreciated.
If on the other hand you want to understand, learn and master the techniques for making sauces there is no better reference guide that has been published.
There is an important chapter on stocks which explains the significance and the technique for extracting flavors from, meats, bones and vegetables, to form the base for the sauces which are covered in the book. This particular chapter goes into more depth than my culinary textbook and has been an invaluable guide for me in my profession.
Mother sauces and small sauces, as classified by Escoffier, are covered as well as many contemporary sauces, but most importantly this book will give you the knowledge and desire to experiment with ingredients that are availible to you.
Buy this book fearlessly, it is well worth the price and then some! You don't have to be a professional personal chef to enjoy it!
The text includes backgrounds of sauces, their relationships to one another, and, of course, recipes. The third edition brings back the valuable charts, diagramming sauce derivatives, relations, and additions, which had been omitted from the second edition. (Do not underestimate the value and utility of these charts!) This edition also includes dozens more recipes, but Peterson did not exclude any of the texts from previous editions that the current form could be as complete and useful as possible.
Besides recipes, the book begins with a chapter briefly outlining the history of sauce-making from the Greco-Roman eras until today. This is followed by a chapter on equipment, describing both the necessary and the merely helpful, for sauce-making. The third chapter details ingredients used in sauces. Then the main body of the text discusses the sauces themselves, organized by various categories. The book also includes an index and glossary which I've found to be quite useful.
This book is, at times, a bit on the technical side. Thus it is probably better suited for the intermediate or advanced cook. Professionals often keep a copy for reference, but beginning or novice home-cooks might find some of the content a bit too intimidating.
This work rightfully deserves its reputation as the most authoritative and the definitive book on the subject of sauces and sauce-making.
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