It began with onions, thinly sliced. Garlic too, three cloves. Pancetta, olive oil. Salt and then pepper. Chicken thighs, skin intact. A long pour from a bottle of Quincy, Loire bred. Things simmered. Too pale, too something, a few peeled tomatoes were needed. More salt, more pepper, herbs and spices.
We've all heard of a maître saucier, a master of sauces, we've eaten his work, noticed, even, how he is too dependent on his skill. This leads him to ignore the basics on occasion. In mastery there is control, domination. His sauces make you forget what you're eating.
In the steam of my kitchen, I knew I did not want to master. I had had no recipe that night, only random ingredients and cold weather that made me want the comfort and warmth of a deep sauce.
I would not control, I would not dominate. Being a master is not for me. A mistress, however, that I could be.
Is she controlled, is she controlling? One can never really say. With a mistress, you never know who holds the power or if she even cares.
Rebirth that night, as every magical meal is.
But this one in particular. I had made many, countless even, sauces before. But this was different. I found myself.
A mistress of sauces.