Let's get saucy!

Joined Feb 27, 2011
I need to make some tutorials on something I love - so I chose food.

Specifically, seasonings and sauces, because if you can master the concepts behind those, the possibilities for meals you can create for yourself from random ingredients are endless.

I also like the idea of teaching concepts behind things, rather than simply walking people through recipes.

NOT as in "the science of how bechamel sauce gets thickened".  More like what goes well together and WHY.

Possibly I'll do an overview of the five "mother sauces" but I also want to include non-western ideas too.

I'm struggling to create a framework to teach this by, because I am far from a master chef yet.

So my question for you is:

If you were to describe the world of "seasonings" or "sauces" to someone, how would you do it?

Please help me out, anything you say will help me see how other people see it! Thank you!
Joined Oct 2, 2010
How about referring to the origines? I would only go to the most frequently used or contemporary ingredients

Let's say sauces originating from France and other countries, frequently used kitchen herbs like thyme, oregano, etc; where do they come from? Origine from spices and spice mixes.

Even a single item like salt is worth to investigate.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
In a word, "flavorings." Sauces and seasonings add distinct flavors to a dish (as well as a textural change, in the case of sauces).

So, the first thing somebody new has to do is start developing familiarity with the actual tastes of those things. Once that's done, they can can consider which of them work together.

A good starting point is to compare grossly mismatched ingredients, so they get the idea. For instance, would you mix a tablespoon of garlic powder into a sweet dessert? The answer is obvious. What students have to learn, for themselves, is why?

Once they realize the concept, they can move on to the more subtle differences---along the way learning that amounts are just as important as the basic flavoring. And that seasonings combined with each other affect the final flavor.

At base, however, they have to recognize the flavor of the ingredient. If you don't know what oregano tastes and smells like you can't match it to other dishes.

Another aspect is changing fashion. Example: Classic French sauces are all bound types. Then, in the '80s & 90s those fell out of favor, and sauces based on butter and cream---without binding agents like starches---were the fashion. Now we've gone a step further, and broth-like sauces are the rage. What they have to understand is that mouth feel is part of percieved flavor, and three sauces made with essentially the same ingredients, following that progression, will seem to taste differently.
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