Espagnole. Demi-glace. Bordelaise. English Gravy. Poivrade. Port-Berry. Grüne. Ravigote. Robert. Hunter. Aux Fines Herbes. Genevoise. Hot and Sour. Lyonnaise. Barbecue. Marinara. Yorkshire. Béarnaise. Curry. Alfredo. Coulis. Hollandaise…
That’s a short list. The complete list of sauces, or what Larousse Gastronomique calls “liquid seasoning for food” is pretty much endless, and some of the foundational techniques for making any of the more famous sauces above, once conquered, allow for the creation of unique new concoctions that can become part of family history. A legacy from my mother’s kitchen is a kind of hybrid of Brown and Polonaise sauces – think horseradish-and-lemon-inflected madera beef stock reduction. As she tells the story, it was born of an over-cooked roux, a lot of beef stock and my father’s fondness for horseradish with the holiday roast beef.
She still has the pan that sauce was birthed in.
Saucepans were a natural next step for Brooklyn Copper Cookware – not least of all because a great many people have asked after them, but more because extracting flavors into liquids and texturing them is one of the most exacting, fun and satisfying skills any cook can develop. Many sauces take a deft touch, and the precision temperature control of copper and tin is a real advantage when your recipe is finicky. On the road to mastery, at some point the right tools become imperative.
But is it possible to “master” sauce making if there’s the next, undiscovered sauce lurking out there to more perfectly season your meal? Many of the best cooks I know insist sauces are the most humbling element of good cooking (my favorite stealth trick: a tablespoon of mayonnaise from the ‘fridge to repair my broken Hollandaise). I like to think of sauces as the most suspenseful part in the story of any meal, but it consistently amazes me that most sauces, as complex as they can be, are single-pan preparations.
As simple and as useful as saucepans are, manufacturing them was always going to take a disproportionate share of BCC’s resources. Each one of the three sizes (1, 2 and 3 quart) we intend to make requires its own vented, stainless steel lathe mandrel, its own long handle casting plate, its own cover tooling and individually-sized stang handle casting plates. That’s more than we could afford as we got started, so we decided to bankroll the saucepans with the proceeds of our initial offering (the sauté, rondeau, casserole and stocker) with its common lathe tool. With holiday sales in the bank, we’re getting ready with designs and to invest in more tools.
As you can see from the pictures, this part of making Brooklyn Copper Cookware is handwork as well. Barbara Stork has been busy redrawing our unique handle designs to our saucepans’ scale. Once we’ve nailed down the look, balance and weights (you’ll always be able to tell Brooklyn Copper at a glance), our tooling shops in Fort Wayne and Dayton are ready to begin milling new mandrels and plates.
We and our smiths have been through all this once before with the first lineup of pans, and we have a little more capital to work with this go ’round, so we’re cautiously optimistic about bringing out our saucepan line in a matter of months rather than years. Once we have everything in place we’ll set up a pre-order list, just like we did for the first lineup. Then you’ll be able to claim the first of the BCC saucepans to come off the line. We expect them to be very popular.