In Part 1, we explored the origins of sauces, dating back to the only recorded evidence of Roman cuisine by Marcus Gavius Apicius, in the first century A.D.
While sauces may have masked the evidence of time-altered foods in the past, this is not to say that the gourmets of the time did not add sauce to dishes for the mere pleasure of exploring flavor. The refinement of the palate is a unique trait of our species.
Sauces are a complex science. Each has its own function. There are two main functions at the root of every sauce: To offer contrast or to amplify flavors. And yet, it is not quite that simple. History has its say. For example, the Agricultural Revolution, spanning from the 13th to 19th century, significantly broadened the global palate and increased our knowledge and mastery of food science.
Knowledge of foods and cuisine beyond our immediate territory and culture began to expand the moment ancient people began to travel. For instance, Italian cuisine was influenced by the Persians, who were influenced by the Greeks. Nearly all ancient records of food preparation, though fragmented, cite simple cooking techniques utilizing some form of sauce.
The history of sauces spans centuries and will surely span more centuries yet. Sauces are a good example of our ingenuity and insatiable desire to expand our appreciation for the simple act of acquiring sustenance. Wait. Expand is not the right word. Deepen is more fitting. Consider the unique flavor of a fresh tomato and the undeniable dimension it takes when turned to sauce.