Friday, March 13, 2009

Charlestown Culinary gets Saucy

Unfortunately, an end-of-winter cold has put my cooking and dining adventures on hold. Unable to fathom spending the day in front of the TV or glued to my laptop, I used my day home from work (despite my best efforts as Charlestown Culinary, I am required to also hold a real job) to pick up the David Paul Larousse’s The Sauce Bible: Guide to the Saucier's Craft.
True confession, I enjoy reading cook books. I am not talking about picking up a book and sifting through for a specific recipe, I am talking about picking up a book and reading front to back every page. In addition to giving great inspirations, this has also helped me understand basic cooking techniques, while giving me a perspective on how to create different variations of the same dish.

So here I was, inspired by recently reading about Jacques Pepin’s experience as a saucier in France, reading about the basic recipes for hollandaise, beurre blanc, bĂ©chamel, bĂ©arnaise and veloute sauces. It was not surprising that at one point I was craving asparagus with hollandaise instead of the minestrone soup Mr. Charlestown Culinary had brought me. In addition to the hundreds of sauce recipes, the book also covers other food compliments such as marinades, chutneys and salsas.

Although on the traditional side, and perhaps a bit heavy with the butter and cream, this book gives a solid foundation for understanding the chemistry that goes into creating a sauce. It also had an interesting chapter on Sauce Arabesques, how to artistically 'paint' sauces for dishes. Overall, I see this book building upon my cooking repertoire and OF COURSE translating into future blog posts.

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