The History of Tomato Sauces
Tomatoes were a common ingredient in the diet of ancient South Americans but were not introduced to Europe until the 16th century by explorers coming from the New World. Because they grow well in a warmer climate, tomatoes quickly became popular in southern Europe. After World War I, the status of tomato sauce was lifted as Auguste Escoffier updated Antonin Careme's 19th century list of mother (or grand) sauces by including tomato sauce as one of them. The mother sauces are considered the foundation from which all sauces in classical cuisine are derived. Today tomatoes are found in just about every culture and there are an infinite number of sauces that are tomato based.
Moving Ahead with Tomatoes and Vegetable Sauces
In the mid 20th century, as nouvelle cuisine gained in popularity over the heavier, classical cuisine, the trend of using fewer ingredients and making lighter, more simple food became the new way of cooking. Traditional sauce components such as butter, cream, flour ,and meat stocks were replaced with lighter, fresher ingredients such as vegetables and fruits. Today that trend has grown even stronger as chefs now commonly use extracted juices and pure vegetable and fruit purees as the sauces themselves.