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Cox: New ‘Sauces’ covers them all, from brown to white to light

‘Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making’

By James Peterson (Wiley, $49.95)

When “Sauces” was first published in 1991, it became an instant classic. It received the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year Award and remains an essential reference for every serious cook.

James Peterson has updated his cookbook to make it even more accessible. The third edition embraces the traditions of diverse cuisines and features more than 60 all-new recipes. The collection serves up nearly 450 recipes as well as charts for easy reference on Classic White Sauces, Derivative Brown Sauces, Classic French Fish Sauces, Crustacean Sauce Variations plus mouth-watering color photography that highlights the beauty of the finished dishes.

Comprehensive and steeped in research, “Sauces” provides a classical foundation from which anyone, from home cooks to professional chefs, can draw inspiration and gain new insight. Since Americans are making more healthful choices, many of the featured sauces have been lightened in accordance with current culinary trends.

Peterson leaves nothing to the imagination in his excellent collection. For example, there are 20 chapters and hundreds of recipes for every type of sauce and the dishes they complement, from a basic Mushroom and Lemon Sauce to the more exotic Bordelaise Sauce Made with Red Wine Stock. This expanded new edition also contains added historical material, with special attention paid to French and Italian cooking. Especially intriguing are medieval and Renaissance recipes that might be difficult to translate for the modern palate but are nevertheless fascinating to read.

What makes this collection work is, of course, Peterson’s lack of pretension. His assuring voice is a common thread throughout the book, encouraging and guiding.

This lively, erudite and authoritative reference is the definitive modern work on the subject. All of the techniques and know-how needed to master sauce making are contained in this fantastic book.

Tucsonan Larry Cox’s “Shelf Life” reviews of fiction and nonfiction books and his “Treasures and Trends” antiques column run Thursdays in Calendar Plus. For more, go to tucsoncitizen.com/ calendar. E-mail: contactlarrycox@aol.com

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