The French say the English only know how to make one kind of sauce, and a poor one at that. Notwithstanding the French understand the sauce question, it is very convenient to make the drawn butter, and, by adding different flavorings, make just so many kinds of sauce. For instance, by adding capers, shrimps, chopped pickles, anchovy paste, chopped boiled eggs, lobster, oysters, parsley, cauliflower, etc., one has caper, shrimp, pickle, anchovy, egg, and the other sauces. The drawn-butter sauce is simple, yet few make it properly, managing generally to have it insipid, and with flour uncooked. If a housekeeper has any pride about having a good table, she will be amply re-paid for learning some of the French sauces, which are, at last, simple enough. We are often frightened to see many items in a receipt; we shake our heads dubiously at the trouble and extravagance of one receipt mentioning thyme, nutmeg, bay-leaf, mace, shallot, capers, pepper-corns, parsley, and, last of all the horrors, stock. As far as the herbs are concerned, an invest-ment of twenty-five cents will purchase enough mace, thyme, bay-leaves, and pepper-corns for a year's supply of abundant sauces, to say nothing of their uses for braising, blanquettes, etc. Five cents' worth of shallots should last a long time; they are sold in all city markets, being only young forced onions. Capers would be extravagant if a bottleful, costing sixty cents, would not last a year in a small-sized family. I have already said enough about stock to show that one must be very incompetent if a little of it can not be at hand, made of trimmings and cheap pieces of meat and bones.
The use of mushrooms and truffles, which are comparatively cheap in France, can not be extensively introduced here. A lit-tic tin can, holding about a gill of tasteless truffles, costs three or four dollars: however, mushrooms are much less expensive, and infinitely better. A can of mushrooms costs forty cents, and is sufficient for several sauces and entrées.
Some persons raise mushrooms in their cellars. A small, rich bed in a dark place where the soil will not freeze, planted with mushroom spawn, will yield enough mushrooms for the family, and the neighbors besides, with very little trouble and expense.
The French white sauces differ from the English white sauce, as they are made with strong white stock, prepared with veal, or chickens, or both, and some vegetables for a basis. If one would learn to make the sauce Bechamel, it will be found an easy affair to prepare many delicious entrées, such as chicken in shells (en coquille), or in papers (en papillote), and mushrooms in crust (croûte aux champignons).
For boiled fish the sauce Hollandaise is a decided success. In Paris every one speaks of this delicious sauce, and bribes the chef de cuisine for the receipt. It is made without stock, and is very simple.
For a chicken or a lobster salad, learn unquestionably the sauce Mayonnaise.
In the thickening of sauces, let it be remembered that butter and flour should be well cooked together before the sauce is added, to prevent the flour from tasting uncooked. In butter sauces, however, only enough butter should be used to cook the flour, the remainder added, cut in pieces, after the sauce is taken from the fire. This preserves its flavor.