Cookbook Review of Sauces: Classical & Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peterson

2912cd8621b4dee7d82d1d1ae724954fCookbook review of Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peterson.

I am no Chef, but definitely a foodie.  Who isn’t nowadays?  Whether we admit it or not, we all want to be as cool as Anthony Bourdain when it comes to dining out, and as skilled as a five star chef in our own kitchen. But as much as we daydream about having a sophisticated palate and a skilled hand with a sauté pan, the honest truth is that most of us will never have a truly adventurous appetite, or impress anyone with our cooking skills.  The world of cooking seems too daunting and complex to have someone take the time and teach us the ropes…  And then! This cooking book by James Peterson fell into my lap!

Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peterson, is an in-depth and comprehensive book about cooking.  More specifically how to make sauces, but it’s much more than a collection of recipes (like any other cookbook).   This cookbook reads more like a biography  – a great one too!  I started reading this book in bed before I’d doze off and found that I could not put it down!

The book is well written and starts off with a fascinating history of cooking: how cooking has evolved from the Greek empire, through the medieval period, and into modern day.  It shares great insight into what to look for when purchasing ingredients at the grocery store. It highlights tips on keeping food fresh, how to dry your own spices, and how to freeze homemade stocks for dinners to come.  It explains how to cook the most incredible sauces in the most down-to-earth way.  This book has gotten me excited to cook at a higher level and I can safely say that it has improved my cooking.


James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, and cooking teacher who started his career as a restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. He is the author of fifteen titles, including “Sauces,” his first book and a 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and “Cooking,” a 2008 James Beard Award winner. He has been one of the country’s preeminent cooking instructors for more than 20 years and currently teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump’s) in New York. He is revered within the industry and highly regarded as a professional resource. James Peterson cooks, writes, and photographs from Brooklyn, New York.

This book hooked me in like a good novel, and it will always be referenced in my kitchen like a handy bible.  I can’t imagine that there are too many cookbooks out there that are juicy enough to read from cover to cover, and I know there are few as comprehensive as this one.

If you want to improve your cooking skills Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peterson, is the best cookbook I have ever found.  This cookbook has a lifetime of recipes and wisdom in it, and I can’t endorse it more enthusiastically.   It’s a great introduction to anyone wanting to learn how to cook, and its reference guide for anyone one who’s professional trained.  Go get it!

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