When I see a book on sauces, I suffer a number of reactions. First, I feel sure it’s going to take a whole lot of time and a whole lot of work — fine for an army of sous-chefs with whisk-ready biceps and a commercial dishwasher, but not for me. Second, I feel depressed that I’m not even going to get a meal out of it. Third, I feel guilty, because I should’ve learned this stuff in cooking school when I was supposed to.
Usually, a quick leaf-through of the book confirms my hunches. But the new “Modern Sauces,” by former Fine Cooking editor Martha Holmberg, turns my instincts upside-down. These sauces look almost speedy, and they’re followed by real, meal-sized recipes that use them.