You might think that the position of saucier is a relic of the French kitchen brigade system, something that people pay attention to only in the rarefied world of fine dining. But sauces are an intrinsic part of so many cuisines, as well as basic home cooking, whether elaborate compositions or the stuff you whisk together last-minute in a pan. And good books on sauce-making are difficult to come by.
Hence “Mastering Sauces,” the first solo cookbook by Seattle native Volland. What you should probably know about the author is that her previous projects were not your ordinary collaborations: Before writing her book on sauces, Volland served as recipe editor for Nathan Myhrvold’s “Modernist Cuisine” projects. Nice.