Sauce. Webster defines it as “a liquid or light dressing served as a relish with food.”
I have never thought of it as a relish. I think of sauce as an additional flavoring for food, a way to enhance a plate or bring out the flavor of a particular food. Sauces were the mother of necessity in the days before refrigeration. They were used to cover the off taste of foods that were on the downhill slide of going bad.
In culinary school, right after you take sanitation, your first course is in making the “mother sauces,” which were developed in the 19th century by French (who else) chef Antonin Careme, and considered the base for all sauces. He never met a Southerner, because we will make anything into a sauce, and have little or no regard for his fine work. We learned our sauce-making at the table of a grandmother or around a pit smoking a hog.
We’ll even name a sauce after a wicked, biblical temptress. Jezebel. The “painted woman” of the book of Kings, she leads her husband astray and was shameless in her actions. The kind of woman most women hate and lots of men lust after. What a wonderful beginning for a sauce.
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I had never heard of this stuff until I started hanging out in the Mississippi Delta. Jezebel sauce in that region is a sacred thing. Maybe there is a bit of kinship with Jezebel in the Delta. They use it like folks here in North Carolina use green pepper jelly – they pour it over a block of cream cheese. I found a better use for it, and I tweaked a few of the ingredients. It’s also crazy easy to make. Jezebel sauce is a little sweet with equal parts spiciness, just like a good temptress, and is marvelous when served alongside smoked sausages of any kind, or duck and quail, as well as this pork. I find that it is a nice change of pace with grilled or baked fish. I think you will find lots of uses for this stuff.
This entire recipe is very easy to do no matter what your kitchen skill level is, and I assume that come next Saturday many of you will be looking for a meal that is interesting, provocative and just plain good. You can’t do much better than this concoction. Temptations can be a good thing.