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Sep 21, 2007 08:44 AM

Learning classic French sauces online

Where is a reputable place online to learn to make the classic French sauces?
I have googled it. Truth is I am a bit of a simpleton in my cooking and wouldn't know a good French sauce recipe if I saw one.

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  1. I would suggest that you forget on-line sources and get yourself to your public library. Check out any number of Julia Child's books or the old New York Times Cook book by Claiborn and Freney. Jacques Pepin's La Technique is also a good source.

    1. I second the recommendation to forget online and go for the dead-tree version. James Peterson's "Sauces" is excellent and encyclopedic, but short on pictures.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Richard L

        I have Sauces by James Peterson. It is an excellent primer!

      2. check out "The saucier's apprentice" By Sokolov
        A book

        1. At least as helpful as books, if not more so, is to either take a rudimentary class or to rent/buy DVDs with demonstrations from the same people mentioned above.

          Julia Child would especially be good as her demos are specifically to those unfamiliar with classic technique. Jacques Pepin would also be a good one to look for.

          Once you have seen those who know how to do, books would provide a great follow-up and source for references.

          1. You really don't want recipes so much as you need to learn the techniques for the basic sauces. Hot emulsions (hollandaise), cold emulsions (mayonnaise), blond roux (bechamel and velouté), dark roux and deglazing. Learn to do them by hand before you switch to blenders or food processors. They're the building blocks for all the complicated sauces so once you have the techniques down cold, you can then use recipes to create all the others.
            The books and videos recommended above are excellent sources. Many of us learned by watching Julia on public television. If you have the opportunity to take a class in sauces, go for it.
            This is one time that the Beginner's Eye is a great asset. You don't have to unlearn bad habits. There is no substitute for good technique well learned and constantly practiced.