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New resolution- Help me to explore the wonderful, yet frightening, world of sauces

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I took numerous cooking classes in college and interned in a few kitchens, which gave me a pretty good background for cooking. The one thing that I could never master was making sauces. I could let that thing simmer for 2 hours and it wouldn't reduce. I burnt my roux, got clumpy gravy, or plain sauce with no flavor. Ugh! I just couldn't get it and gave up trying.

Well, it's 6 years since college and I'm getting back on the horse again. This year I will expand my cooking skills! I will make my own gravy, whip up a fab mac and cheese, and reduce the hell out of some demi glace out there. So, where do I start? Does anyone know of any good cookbooks to start with, or any recipes I should start with? Help would be greatly appreciated. TIA!

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  1. "Sauces", by Michel Roux, is a good one for beginners. Very straightforward without too much technical jargon and lots of step-by-step color photos.

    3 Replies
    1. re: diropstim

      A sauce guy named Roux?! That's like an ice cream man named Cone!!

      James Peterson's "Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making" is also a great book.

      1. re: Buckethead

        I can't believe his name is Roux either! Haahah!

        I like all the classic stuff--Julia Child, Joy of Cooking. You can get a solid base there, IMO

        1. re: Buckethead

          Yeah, the Peterson books are all good, if a bit encyclopedic. The great thing about his sauce book is that he gives alternate methods for almost everything. I just think it might be a little dry and academic for a beginner. And FYI, Michel and Albert Roux are both Michelin-starred chefs in France. Doesn't mean it's not funny, but then we might as well josh about Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans.

      2. There's an excellent, accessible, and rather comprehensive book (includes techniques from all over the world) by Grace Parisi of Food and Wine mag. The title is something awful, like "Get Saucey"
        Still, it's a terrific book.