I am convinced that sheer intimidation factor is the number one reason why home-cooks avoid making sauce full stop. Terminology surrounding sauce composition is nearly foreign and hard to pronounce. We think it is too fancy or complicated and so, we just opt out.
This is actually a big misconception. Repeat after me:
SAUCE IS SIMPLE
True statement. It requires minimal ingredients. Makes excellent use of staple pantry items and is super accommodating with cooking times as minimal as 5 to 10 minutes in some cases.
The sauce-making process becomes easier once we become familiar with the parts that produce the whole. As we become proficient in this process it becomes evident that sauce is merely a theme and variation of this simple equation:
BASE + Thickening agent + flavor = sauce
base: the main ingredient that brings depth and dimension to the sauce.
thickening agent: techniques used to thicken the sauce.
flavor: ingredients from a flavor profile that bring interest and intrigue to taste.
In the coming weeks, we will examine the elements of this equation to get a granular view of how sauces are built. This makes it possible to construct sauces in a premeditated yet spontaneous fashion.