may be the single most important thing you can learn to make in the kitchen. When it comes to French cuisine
, you only need to remember how to make five basic sauces from which you can build any number of dishes to impress your guests. But first, a little history on French sauce.
In the 19th century, French chef Marie Antoine-Carême
was the first to organize all the French sauces into groups that were based on four foundational sauces. It was only later that Auguste Escoffier came along and added the fifth and final sauce, hollandaise, when he wrote his 1903 classic Le Guide Culinaire
. Since then, these five sauces have been seen as the foundation for many dishes and other sauces and are an indispensable part of classical and home cooking.
Before we list the five sauces, we need to talk about roux
. Roux is fat and flour cooked together, which is then added to the liquid that you want thickened. When this mixture is brought to a boil, the flour thickens and you end up with a sauce. Four out of the five mother sauces are thickened by roux, so you should be comfortable making one before you begin. Once you are, it’s time to dive in and learn how to make the five French mother sauces.