I’m looking at my little recipe book – my current favourite, Cookery for To-Day and To-Morrow, by Nan Heaton and published in 1944 when the War was still raging. To me, the title of the book has a firmly positive and optimistic sound to it, but there must have still been great anxiety and fear.
I opened the page at random and the section is Sauces.
Sauces give nutriment as well as often adding zest to plain food. They may also be used to introduce colour to the dishes or as garnishes to improve the appearance of the food. Remember to vary your sauces and to see that both colour and flavour enhance the dish they are accompanying.
In white sauces the fat and flour should only be cooked together for a minute but in brown sauces the roux should be cooked till the sauce is chocolate-coloured. Margarine makes a light sauce, but dripping may be substituted for brown sauce.
Always remove the pan from the heat before adding milk to a sauce. Special care is needed when adding eggs, since they will curdle if overcooked or if the heat is too great.
Butter can be used as the foundation for sauces, with flavourings added.
Vegetable stock may be used for savoury sauces, with flour or cornflour added to thicken, instead of makig a roux.
It fascinates me that Nell writes so clearly, and even though she wrote this nearly eighty years ago, you wouldn’t guess – apart from the mention of dripping maybe. There follows fifty-four – yes, 54 recipes including beetroot sauce, anchovy sauce, Christmas pudding sauce (‘a’ and ‘b’) green gooseberry sauce,prawn sauce and venison sauce. I’m not sure I would try all of them, but I am tempted by some – lemon sauce and caper sauce for example!