Your Guide to Staying Saucy This Summer—and Yes, I’ll Explain What That Even Means
Summer was made for sauce. Think about it: sweet and smoky (aka swoky) barbecue sauce running down your chin with every succulent bite of a glazey grilled chicken leg. Or a tart and tangy strawberry vinaigrette to toss your farmers market finds with. And naturally, drizzling a little too much warm, buttery caramel sauce over your already melting ice cream. Because summer.
All this thinking and talking about sauces got some members of the team asking some pretty tough questions. It went a little something like this...
Literally not a single soul:
Me: If I dip my fries in my milkshake does that make it a sauce?
What isn’t surprising about this is that I had a milkshake at 10 AM on a Tuesday. What is surprising is that in subsequent convos about this, no one could agree on the definition of a sauce.
What is a Sauce?
“To me, a sauce is any liquid intended to be paired with solid food and not meant to be consumed on its own,” Jonathan, graphic designer and budding chef, told me. “So something like a soup or broth is not a sauce, a milkshake is definitely not a sauce, but a salad dressing is a sauce.” Sounds great. But with one word, Jonathan’s twin brother and fellow graphic designer, Joseph, blew our minds: “Applesauce.”
You can pour applesauce over pork chops or pack it in your kid’s lunch as a sweet and nutritious side. Wild! By this time, a small crowd had gathered and after a brief silence, other paralyzingly profound questions started popping up too fast for anyone to answer.
“Can you sauce a sauce?”
“Does adding milk to cereal make it a sauce or... wait, is cereal actually soup?”
”Is sauce infinite?”
And the most troubling, “Am I a sauce?”
Then, out of this suddenly spiraling discussion, a voice of reason emerged from the test kitchen. “A sauce is an agent of enrichment,” the voice said, as if reading from a script. “It must add flavor, texture, moisture, and/or color to the dish. Consistency is key. It must be of a drizzle-able viscosity. Something can be a dip and a sauce, but not all dips are sauces.”
Stunned into silence, everyone in attendance at this impromptu sauce convention resumed pondering whether or not they themselves were sauce. Before disbanding, Savory co-founder Janet blessed us with this final thought: “It’s not about what it is, it’s about how you use it.”
At the end of the day, sauces can be whatever you need them to be. Something sticky and syrupy to drizzle on your chicken tenders, something green and goddessy to dip your freshly harvested crudité in, or something so simple yet life-changing that you start breaking awkward silences in elevators to tell people about jammy tomatoes or (vegan) bacon sauce.
How to Stay Saucy this Summer
Well, first off you’re gonna want to keep your purse well-stocked with those little hand wipe packets (you know, the ones you get when you order ribs) because it’s going to get messy... But a finger-lickin’ good kind of messy. We’re going to be turning spices into sauces, sauces into spices, mastering the mother sauces, discovering unique sauces from around the world, and making sure you save room for dessert sauces because it’s dessert and dessert is delicious.
Summer is all about sauce and sauce is all about the flavors you love. So you dip your fries in your milkshake if you want to. Add hot sauce to anything and everything. Eat marinara like it’s tomato soup. Drink barbecue sauce straight from the bottle. Actually, don’t do that. But do put it on everything you possibly can. Whatever you do this summer, stay saucy.