Béchamel is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine. I will write and experiment with each of them. I am giving myself no time limit though so don’t hold your breath. There is the Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole (also known as Brown Sauce), Hollandaise, and Classic Tomato Sauce.
I always make my macaroni and cheese with a Béchamel sauce. It is so creamy in the middle. The bread/cheese topping is broiled at the end which makes a crunch of goodness. It is a constant dish with Grits and Honey.
The first time I made Béchamel Sauce, I got a whiff of this wonderful smell as the milk, butter and flour where simmering. I had to stick my head in the pot. I wondered, where have I smelled this before?? It was like a wonderful memory from my childhood was dancing up my nose to my brain. I stuck my head in there again. What was the memory? I made this sauce probably 10 more times before it came to me. My Grandfather, Pawpaw as we called him, was a wonderful southern cook. He would have my parents, brother and me over for breakfast and he would always have biscuits and gravy. It was the smell of the gravy that I remembered. My Grandfather had no idea he was cooking a “mother sauce of french cuisine” In fact, I hope he isn’t rolling over in his grave. It is the melted butter, flour, and warm milk. The smell of Béchamel means many things to me- comfort, safety, warmth, love… No wonder my macaroni and cheese sells. That is a lot of ingredients! And that is exactly why I cook.
I am sitting in bed with Gabby after a long day of work and then I came home to make my macaroni and cheese for 80 people. I am exhausted but so fulfilled because I love what I do. All those feelings are in me when I smell the béchamel cooking. That is what I love to share but sometimes make excuses as to why I am not sharing it. Hmmm.
Place a stick of butter in a medium to large saucepan and melt it. Add 6 tablespoons flour and cook, bubbling, for 3-4 minutes and stir to keep it from sticking Slowly add 5 cups of vitamin D milk. Stir constantly and bring to a slow simmer. Once simmering cook for 5 minutes but don’t let the milk scald (burn) or the sauce is ruined. Lastly, stick your head in there and smell what memories you can stir up.
Originally posted at Grits and Honey.