SauceThe sauce is a liquid or semi-liquid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. The sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted. Sauce preparations vary widely in their ingredients and in the categories into which they fall, including condiment sauces, horseradish sauce, cheese sauces, tomato ketchup, and béchamel sauce—and many others.
Sugar is an essential ingredient in many sauces. It provides the primary source of carbohydrates in most modern cuisines around the world. The sugars are often combined with proteins, such as in a tomato sauce.
Sauces used in preparing other foods are called "salses". Sauces may be prepared by stewing fruit or vegetables with sugar, vinegar, wines, stocks, and aromatics. They may also be prepared by using edible fats as emulsifiers to bind water-soluble flavor components into a stable matrix. Sauces are not usually heated; they are generally refrigerated or frozen.
Sauce may contain high amounts of fat, but it can be offset with low-calorie thickeners like glucomannan and xanthan gum (E415). Industrially produced sauces include some varieties that have been thickened with flour or other starches and may contain food dyes, sweeteners, or other additives.
As a condiment, it is used to add flavor and texture to some foods. It also makes many sauces more fluid by dissolving the starch or other thickening agent that holds it together. In addition, some sauces are made of ingredients that wouldn't normally combine well with each other during cooking which means that sauces are often used to preserve the flavor of one ingredient.
The word "sauce" is also commonly applied to what might more properly be called a condiment (e.g., hot sauce, mustard sauce), or to other preparations that do not correspond exactly with the familiar condiment group (for example salsa, chutney, relish).
Sauces for salads are called salad dressing, while condiments are usually called table sauces. Sauces made by deglazing a pan are sometimes called pan sauces, and those made by caramelizing the juices in the bottom of a skillet are known as "deglazing sauce" or simply "glaze". The French word "sauce" gave rise to the English term "souse", an archaic word meaning pickled foods.
A sauce is typically liquid or semiliquid, which gives it an easily varied consistency of fluidity and viscosity. Sauce may be white and viscous (e.g., hollandaise sauce); thick like mayonnaise (e.g., rémoulade sauce); or thin and runny like salad dressing (e.g., vinaigrette). Sauces are an essential component in cuisines all over the world, whether they are used as a primary ingredient, as part of a dish or to enhance flavors of a secondary ingredient.