The word "sauce" is a French word that means a relish to make our food more appetizing. Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid foods devised to make other foods look, smell, and taste better, and hence be more easily digested and more beneficial. Because of the lack of refrigeration in the early days of cooking, meat, poultry, fish, and seafood didn't last long. Sauces and gravies were used to mask the flavor of tainted foods.
200 A.D. - The Romans used sauces to disguise the taste of the food. Possibly to conceal doubtful freshness. According to the article Food & Cooking in Roman Britain by Marian Woodman:
The main course, or primae mensai varied both in the number and elaboration of dishes. Roast and boiled meat, poultry, game or other meat delicacies would be served. No dish was complete without its highly flavoured and seasoned sauce. Contrary to present day preference, the main object seemed to be to disguise the natural taste of food - possibly to conceal doubtful freshness, possibly to demonstrate the variety of costly spices available to the host. Sometimes so many ingredients were used in a sauce it was impossible to single out any one flavour. One Roman cook bitterly complained that some of his fellow cooks 'When they season their dinners they don't use condiments for seasoning, but screech owls, which eat out the intestines of the guests alive'. Apicius wrote at the end of one of his recipes for a particularly flavoursome sauce, 'No one at table will know what he is eating'. These sauces were usually thickened with wheat flour or crumbled pastry. Honey was often incorporated into a 'sweet-sour' dish or sauce.
Highly flavoured sauces often containing as many as a dozen ingredients were extensively used to mask the natural flavours of Roman food. The most commonly used seasoning was liquamen, the nearest equivalent today being a very strong fish stock, with anchovies as its main ingredient. This was so popular that it was factory-produced in many towns in the Roman empire.
1651 - A little heard of sauce today, but very popular in the 17th century is Sauce Robert. It is similar to the present day Espagnole Sauce. Both Sauce Rober and Espangnole are basically a brown roux (a combination of fat and flour to create a thickening agent).
• In le Grand Cuisinier (1583) there is a mention of a sauce Barbe Robert, sauce already found in le Viandier under the name "taillemaslée" (fried onions, verjus, vinegar, mustard) for roasted rabbit,fryfish and fryegg.

• François Rabelais (Circa 1483-1553)in le Quart-Livre, mention: "Robert, the one who invented the sauce Robert indispensable for roast, rabbits, duck, pork, poached eggs..."
• Some attribute this sauce to a French sauce-inventor Robert Vinot but this man lived in the 17th century, much later than the first description of the sauce in Le Viandier from Tailleven

There are five foundation sauces or basic sauces, called in French grandes sauces or sayces meres. Two of them have a record of two hundred years behind them; they are the "bechamelle" and the "mayonnaise". They have lasted so long, not only because they are very good, but also because they are so adaptable and provide a fine basis for a considerable number of other sauces.
The other three, which also date back to the 18th century, are the "veloute," the "brune," and the "blonde." These five sauces still provide the basis for making of many modern sauces, but no longer of most of them.
Modern sauces may be divided into two classes: the "Careme" and "Escoffier" classes. Among the faithful, in the great kitchen of the world, Escoffier is to Careme what the New Testament is to the Old. See "Mother Sauces" for descriptions of the five basic sauces.

Sauces in French cuisine
Sauces in French cuisine date back to Medieval times. There were hundreds of sauces in the lore. In 'classic' French cooking (19th and 20th century until nouvelle cuisine), sauces were a major defining characteristic of French cuisine.
In the 19th century, the chef Antonin Carême classified sauces into four families, each of which was based on a mother sauce. Carême's four mother sauces were:
• Allemande is based on stock with egg yolk & lemon juice
• Béchamel is based on flour and milk
• Espagnole is based on brown stock, beef etc.
• Velouté is based on a light broth, fish, chicken or veal.
In the early 20th century, the chef Auguste Escoffier updated the classification, replacing sauce Allemande with egg-based emulsions (Hollandaise and mayonnaise), and adding tomate. Escoffier's schema is still taught to chefs today:

• Béchamel
• Espagnole
• Hollandaise
• Mayonnaise
• Tomato sauce
• Velouté

Sauces in other cuisines
Sauces and condiments also play an important role in other cuisines:
• British cooking: Gravy is a traditional sauce used on roast dinner, which (traditionally) comprises roast potatoes, roast meat, boiled vegetables and optional Yorkshire puddings. Apple sauce and mint sauce are also used on meat (pork and lamb respectively). Salad cream is sometimes used on salads. Ketchup and brown sauce are used on more fast-food type dishes. Strong English mustard (as well as French or American mustard) are also used on various foods, as is Worcestershire sauce. Custard is a popular dessert sauce. Some of these sauce traditions have been exported to ex-colonies such as the USA.
• Japanese cuisine uses ponzu, yakitori, tonkatsu, and yakisoba sauces.
• Chinese cuisine is known for prepared sauces based on fermented soy beans (soy sauce, black bean sauce, hoisin sauce) as well as many others such as chili sauces and oyster sauce.
• Korean cuisine uses sauces such as doenjang, gochujang, ssamjang, and soy sauce.
• Southeast Asian cuisines, such as Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, often use fish sauce, made from fermented fish.
Asian prepared sauces are not thick as they do not contain thickening agents such as flour. The thickening occurs in the last minutes of cooking when thickeners like corn starch or arrowroot are added.

Sauce variations
There are also many sauces based on tomato (such as tomato ketchup and tomato sauce), other vegetables and various spices. Although the word 'ketchup' by itself usually refers to tomato ketchup, other vegetables or fruits may be used to prepare ketchups.
Sauces can also be sweet, and used either hot or cold to accompany and garnish a dessert.
Another kind of sauce is made from stewed fruit, usually strained to remove skin and fibers and often sweetened. Such sauces, including applesauce and cranberry sauce, are often eaten with specific other foods (apple sauce with pork or ham; cranberry sauce with poultry) or served as desserts.
Examples of sauces
White sauces
• Mushroom sauce
• Sauce Allemande
• Sauce Américaine
• Sauce Suprême
• Velouté
Brown sauces
• Bordelaise sauce
• Bourguignonne sauce
• Chateaubriand sauce
• Sauce Africaine
• Sauce Robert
Béchamel family
• Béchamel sauce
• Mornay sauce
Emulsified sauces
• Béarnaise sauce
• Hollandaise sauce
• Mayonnaise
o Tartar sauce
• Salad cream
Butter sauces
• Beurre blanc
• Café de Paris
Sweet sauces
• Butterscotch sauce
• Chocolate or fudge sauce
• Custard
o Crème anglaise
• Hard sauce -- not liquid, but called a sauce nonetheless
• Fruit sauces
o Applesauce
o Cranberry sauce
Sauces made of chopped fresh ingredients
• Latin American Salsa cruda of various kinds
• Salsa verde
Hot sauces
• Datil Pepper Sauce
• Chili sauce
• Tabasco sauce
East Asian sauces
• Prepared sauces
o Black bean sauce
o Duck sauce, or Plum sauce
o Hoisin sauce
o Oyster sauce
o Soy sauce
• Cooked sauces
o Lobster sauce
o Sweet and sour sauce
o Teriyaki - a way of cooking in Japan, a branch of sauces in North America.
Southeast Asian sauces
• Fish sauce
• Sambal
Other sauces
• Barbecue sauce
• Mole
• Tomato sauce
• Tzatziki

Mother Sauces -
Also called Grand Sauces. These are the five most basic sauces that every cook should master. Antonin Careme, founding father of French "grande cuisine," came up with the methodology in the early 1800's by which hundreds of sauces would be categorized under five Mother Sauces, and there are infinite possibilities for variations, since the sauces are all based on a few basic formulas. Sauces are one of the fundamentals of cooking. Know the basics and you'll be able to prepare a multitude of recipes like a professional. Learn how to make the basic five sauces and their most common derivatives. The five Mother Sauces are:
• Bechamel Sauce (white)
• Veloute Sauce (blond)
• Brown (demi-glace) or Espagnole Sauce
• Hollandaise Sauce (butter)
Tomato Béchamel Sauce (bay-shah-mel) - As the housewife in the 17th Century did not have the luxury of modern refrigeration, they were wary of using milk in their recipes. Peddlers were known to sell watered down or rancid produce. Basically, only the rich or royalty could use milk in their sauces.
In France, it is one of the four basic sauces called "meres" or "mother sauces" from which all other sauces derive. It is also know as "white sauce." It is a smooth, white sauce made from a roux made with flour, boiled milk, and butter. It is usually served with white meats, eggs, and vegetables. It forms the basis of many other sauces.

History: There are four theories on the origin of Béchamel Sauce:

• The Italian version of who created this sauce is that it was created in the 14th century and was introduced by the Italian chefs of Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), the Italian-born Queen of France. In 1533, as part of an Italian-French dynastic alliance, Catherine was married to Henri, Duke of Orleans (the future King Henri II of France. It is because of the Italian cooks and pastry makers who followed her to France that the French came to know the taste of Italian cooking that they introduced to the French court. Antonin Carème(1784-1833), celebrated chef and author, wrote in 1822: "The cooks of the second half of the 1700’s came to know the taste of Italian cooking that Catherine de’Medici introduced to the French court."
• Béchamel Sauce was invented by Duke Philippe De Mornay (1549-1623), Governor of Saumur, and Lord of the Plessis Marly in the 1600s. Béchamel Sauce is a variation of the basic white sauce of Mornay. He is also credited with being the creator of Mornay Sauce, Sauce Chasseur, Sauce Lyonnaise, and Sauce Porto.
• Marquis Louis de Béchamel (1603–1703), a 17th century financier who held the honorary post of chief steward of King Louis XIV's (1643-1715) household, is also said to have invented Béchamel Sauce when trying to come up with a new way of serving and eating dried cod. There are no historical records to verify that he was a gourmet, a cook, or the inventor of Béchamel Sauce.

A basic sauce that serves as a base sauce to use in making other variations of the original sauce. Initially perfected by the French, all sauces are now universally categorized into one of 5 groups of sauces serving as a base or foundation for others sauces and referred to as the Grand or Mother Sauces. This group of sauces must be able to prepared in large batches for use as a foundation for making smaller versions that are seasoned and flavored separately, but all using one of the 5 Grand Sauces as their base. The Grand Sauces include:
1) Brown (demi-glace) or Espagnole - sauces that are brown stock-based, such as brown sauces. Common sauces in this group include Bordelaise, Chasseur, Chateaubriand, Diable, Diane, Estragon, Lyonnaise, Madère, Madeira, Moscovite, Mushroom, Piquante, Porto, Robert, Romaine, Tarragon, and Zingara.
2) Velouté - sauces that are made with white stock and roux. Common sauces in this group include, Allemande, Ravigote, Suprème, and White Bordelaise.
3) Béchamel - sauces that are made with milk and pale roux. Common sauces in this group include Crème, Mornay and Soubise.
4) Red or Tomato Sauces - tomato based sauces. Common sauces in this category include Spaghetti sauce, Marinara sauce and a wide variety of tomato sauces.
5) Emulsions - sauces that are emulsified such as Hollandaise or Mayonnaise.

BéchamelSauce - MornaySauce

TomatoSauce - MariinaraSauce

EmulsionSauce – HollandaiseSauce


In French cooking, traditional white sauces are one of two types: those made with hot milk added to a white roux (such as Béchamel sauce or Mornay sauce) or sauces made with hot broth or stock added to a white roux (such as Velouté sauce). A roux is a combination of flour and butter that are cooked together to be used as a thickening agent for the sauce. The roux may be referred to as a white, blonde or brown roux, depending on the amount of cooking time allowed for the flour or mixture that increasingly darkens the roux as it cooks. The hot milk or stock is stirred into the roux to create a thick sauce that may be seasoned with herbs and spices.


Like many pasta sauces, there are several that are traditional sauces native to their region of origination, such as Bolognese, a traditional Italian sauce originating in Bologna, Italy. Most often a Bolognese sauce will contain at least two types of meat, which may include veal, beef, pork, or chicken cut into small pieces. Unlike some sauces that use ground meat, traditional Bolognese sauces start with large pieces of meat that are sliced to be chopped into small, finely cut bits. The meat becomes part of a variety of ingredients such as onions, celery, carrots, chile peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, and white wine that are combined with seasonings and herbs such as oregano, basil, bay leaves, and nutmeg that provide the distinct flavor for the sauce. It is also common to add cream or milk to the ingredients which provides a richer flavor to the sauce. Bolognese sauce can be added to many different foods but it goes especially well with fettuccine or tagliatelle ribbon pasta, tube pastas or with lasagna and cannelloni pasta as a stuffing.


An green colored herb sauce made from mint leaves, sugar and vinegar. Mint sauce is a common sauce applied as a marinade to poultry, fish or meat, most notably lamb. Mint sauce and mint jelly are traditional foods that accompany a variety of lamb dishes as seasonings or condiments for the meat. Mint sauce can also be used as an ingredient for dips that combine the sauce with mayonnaise and yogurt or as a means to enhance the flavors of potatoes and vegetables. There are numerous types of mint sauces made that range from the highly tangy to the mild and somewhat mellow. Generally, the flavor of vinegar or other spicy ingredients will be very noticeable in the tangy flavored mint sauces. Check the intensity before making or purchasing this sauce.


A cooking utensil that is round in shape with high, straight sides and a longer handle. Equipped with a tight fitting cover, the saucepan can range in sizes to hold contents for one pint or in sizes up to four quarts. They are made of materials such as stainless steel, copper, anodized aluminum, glass, and enameled steel or cast iron. A saucepan has many uses, including preparation processes such as boiling water, for making sauces and soups, or for braising foods.
Saucepans are very similar to saucier pans as both are used to perform similar tasks. The saucier pan is shorter in height and is made with sloping sides instead of straight sides. Saucier pans provide easier access to stirring contents around the edges of the pan and with a wider opening it is easier to make wide arcs with a spoon, a spatula or a whisk. However, choosing a saucepan or a saucier pan is typically a personal preference as both pans work equally well for the preparation of sauces and various foods.

AllaGrica Sauce

A type of white pasta sauce that originated in Amatrice, Italy a small town located adjacent to the Gran Sasso massif, a mountain region in the middle of the country. Made with the distinct flavor of cured pork, the traditional Alla Grica Sauce will use cured pork sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with onions, possibly garlic, and a very small amount of ground chile pepper with a pinch of black pepper as well. When prepared as a local Amatrice sauce, the recipe will contain guanciale, which is the cheek meat of the pig. Since guanciale is not always available outside of Italy, this sauce may be prepared in other countries with pancetta, an Italian bacon or other pork substitutes such as Canadian bacon.
A second sauce from Amatrice that is considered to be the "sister" sacue to Alla Grica is Amarticiana Sauce, which is considered as the "red" version of Alla Grica. Prepared in the same manner, each sauce goes through the same preparation process, however, the Amarticiana Sauce includes tomatoes as an ingredient and thus, the deep red color of the sauce. As the years change some of the ingredients in the sauces, there may be variations that include other ingredients, such as cheese or garlic. Romano cheese is often used as an additional ingredient in some of the Alla Grica and Amarticiana sauces. Strand pasta such as spaghetti is the most common pasta topped with these sauces but in Amatrice or other areas of Italy, the pasta typically served is bucatini, perciatelli or fresh ravioli.

A liquid or sauce made with ingredients, such as fruits or vegetables, that have typically been puréed and strained to create a thick sauce-like consistency. The sauce may be thick, but is still easily poured. When making a coulis, it is important to not over or undercook the ingredients, so the texture and flavor are not diluted if overcooked or too stiff and thick if undercooked. Tomatoes are often used to make a tomato coulis, serving as a base for tomato soups and sauces, or passattas, fish sautês, grilled fish, and fresh pasta dishes. Similarly, other fruits such as raspberries, blueberies and strawberries are made into a coulis to be served over foods such as cheesecake, ice cream, tortes, soufflés, crêpes, waffles, pancakes, and French toast. Coulis may also be used to refer to as a pureéd shellfish soup that has a thick consistency.

Amatriciana Sauce

Originating in a region of central Italy from a town known as Amatrice located near the Adriatic Sea coast, this sauce is a type of pasta sauce known for its meaty contents. Two versions of this sauce exist, however the second sauce became known as Alla Gricia to seperate the distinctive quality of each.
The traditional Amarticiana Sauce will typically include tomatoes combined with pork meat sautéed in olive oil, and seasonings which generally are minced onions, garlic if desired, a small amount of ground chile pepper, and a pinch of black pepper. The recipe when made in the manner of a true Amatrice sauce, is served with cured pork meat from the cheek of the pig, which is referred to as guanciale. However, it is common to find the Amatriciana Sauce prepared with the Italian bacon known as pancetta, or to use other pork substitutes when preparing the sauce outside of Italy due to limited access to guanciale or pancetta. Pork substitutes such as Canadian bacon, may be used when necessary in an attempt to keep the flavor of sauce as close to the original as possible. The second sauce from Amatrice is an Alla grica sauce, which is considered as the "white" version of Amatriciana. Both sauces are prepared in the same manner using the same ingredients except the Alla grica sauce does not contain any tomatoes and therefore, does not have the dark red coloring, but instead is white in color. Some of the variations of these sauces have changed over the years and may include a cheese, such as romano, as an additional ingredient to enhance the flavors.
Both sauces go well as a topping for strand pasta such as spaghetti. However, in traditional Amatrice cooking the pastas most often used include bucatini, perciatelli or fresh ravioli.
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