21 January 2007

I declare...

New Year, new foodish project.

I declared 2006 as "not so vanilla." I posted about growing and harvesting that wondrous pod and its thousands of minute seeds. I conducted a highly unscientific study of extracts, serving my friends many iced fairycakes. I even dipped my toes into savoury usess. Not everything was successful...not everything was tasty...but it was quite fun. If you missed the year-end round-up, here's the link.
This autumn I noticed how many times a dish was saved by one thing--its sauce. In fact foods that were at best mediocre were sometimes made amazing by a ladle of this or a soup├žon of that. More times than I care to mention the sauce was the cook's crutch--an attempt to disguise an overcooked or poorly flavoured slab of meat or a freezerburnt slice of cake. Then again, every once in a while I'd have a perfectly lovely slice of of something, only to have it ruined by a poorly performed sauce.
These experiences got me to thinking. Sauces are ubiquitous--sometimes as condiments, sometimes as integral parts of a meal. They can appear to be complex--hours of simmering with a cupboard full of this and that or they can be as simple as herbed butter.
I'm not much of a sauce maker--that is to say, I don't make that many sauces. Yes, there was the hard sauce this past Christmas, and I do make a perfectly palatable roasted tomato sauce, but there really isn't much more to my saucemaking abilities than that. Let me qualify that...sauces made as part of a dish (curries, for example) don't mystify me...but side sauces--poured over a meat or ice cream are usually courtesy of my big scary megamart (or friendly little gourmet shop).
I'm not totally delusional...I know there is no way for me to explore every iteration of of every type of sauce this year, or possibly this decade. What I do hope to do is simply explore some sauces and condiments and possible ways to use them. Of course project includes both sweet and savoury sauces.
So...with all that said, I hereby declare 2007: Oh you saucy thing.


Lis said...

Hey J - I was just thinking last night while looking for a recipe that it'd be so nice to have some place to go for sauce recipes! I look forward to what you come up with =)

jasmine said...

Thanks Lis--The more I research, the more interesting it becomes...