Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Sauces are liquids that accompany the primary ingredient in a dish. Their purpose is to enhance the flavor of that ingredient—a portion of meat or fish or grain or vegetable—either by deepening and broadening its own intrinsic flavor, or by providing a contrast or complement to it. While the meat or grain or vegetable is always more or less itself, a sauce can be anything the cook wants it to be, and makes the dish a richer, more various, more satisfying composition. Sauces help the cook feed our perpetual hunger for stimulating sensations, for the pleasures of taste and smell, touch and sight. Sauces are distillations of desire.