Miracle White Sauce
This afternoon 6 ears pricked up and one of my three dogs turned his head as if to say “What happened?” I have had a Eureka moment, really and truly. I can’t believe that a recipe for white sauce written during the rationing period at the end of the First World War in 1918 made me shriek with joy! Its purpose was to eliminate the risk of lumps and therefore waste during constrained times. I was thanking Granny Dot aloud today – you never know, maybe she is looking on and enjoying the fact that her great great grandaughter is finding her work enlightening a century later?
‘Mix the fat with the flour cold, add the milk, salt, pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Place on a small flame and keep stirring until it comes to the boil, whisk quickly to produce at once a smooth sauce. Made in this way the sauce does not require straining; there will be no lumps.’
(The Victory Cookery Book, 1918, Mrs C.S. Peel)
1/2 oz./14g unsalted butter
3/4 oz./21g flour
1/2 pint/284mls milk
pinch of salt
grind of pepper
sprinkling of nutmeg
1. If you have some snazzy disposable cooking gloves, all the better. So, take the butter and smush it up with the flour into a paste. This is easier done with cold butter.
2. Put it and the remaining ingredients in a small pan over a low heat.
3. Allow it to become hot and then turn the heat up so that it boils. As soon as it does, whisk away furiously and lightly until you can feel it thicken – et voila, you have a smooth sauce. Can you believe it?