A mother sauce is like a continent.  It is big and encompasses a lot of variation, but ultimately, all sauces lend their birth to their mother.  Well, that’s the case for most sauces.  Some sauces, like the gypsy coulis, are without a country or a continent.  But most French sauces fall under the umbrella of one of the mother sauces.  The 5 mother sauces are BETH-V, béchamel, espagnole, tomato, hollandaise and velouté. 


Béchamel was the name of a man before becoming a sauce.  Béchamel was a financier and chief steward to Louis XIV.  During his time, many cream sauces were made by adding cream to stock; Béchamel preferred the version that started from a roux.  The sauce was given his name because he was such a fan.  The Duke of Escars commented, “That fellow Béchameil has all the luck! I was serving breast of chicken à la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce.”


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