I think that one thing all kids around the world like to do when getting home from school is to run to the kitchen to see what their parents are cooking. I was lucky that my mother didn’t have to work outside and was at home every day. She was always in the kitchen (like mother like daughter) cooking something and baking some yummy desserts and snacks. Although I had a serious sweet tooth as a child, I always enjoyed the main course. I’m not too sure if it’s because we are French Canadian but many dishes were cooked in or with sauces. It seems like there was always a sauce accompanying the meal.
When I first went out on my own, cooking was very challenging. For some reason I never really paid attention when my mother was cooking – I just didn’t have any desire to learn. I was a “tomboy” and being outside playing was my thing. My only chore in the kitchen was to wash the dishes (not by choice) and licking the beaters (totally my idea) when she was making a cake batter. Other than that I had no interest in cooking or baking.
So back when I got my first place, I started making very simple dishes although I screwed up a few and then moved on to slightly more complicated recipes. One thing I got pretty good at was making sauces. These were my savior because if I didn’t cook my dish properly, the sauce would help to cover it up… well that was my way of thinking until I became good in the kitchen.
There was a sauce my mother made often and it is Béchamel Sauce also known as White Sauce. It was used in many different dishes. It was later on that I found out that Béchamel is one of the “mother” of sauces in French cuisine. It is a very simple “basic” sauce that can be altered to other sauces such as Mornay (it’s béchamel with cheese) which I love to use quite often especially for my Macaroni & Cheese recipe, Soubise (onion sauce), Mustard, and so on. This is a sauce that every home cook should master and the technique to achieve a good Béchamel is very simple.
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 pinch white pepper (substitute black or mixed peppercorns if desired)
- 1 small pinch sea salt