The Great and Glorious Fake Sauce

Louis XIV of France was a great and glorious king who has consolidated a great and glorious country by forging a centralized government – absolute monarchy. Having been scared out of his wits as a teenager during the Fronde rebellion, when he, his mother Anne of Austria –  the Regent, and Cardinal Mazarin fled from Paris and barely escaped with their lives, the future Louis le Grand set out to eradicate the last remnants of feudal power. We don’t know whether there was an amorous dalliance (perhaps even a secret marriage) between the Queen-Regent and the Cardinal or it was only one of the rumors transformed into a legend.

 

Of course, the wild imagination and lively quill of Alexander Dumas père  has led generations of teenagers to believe that by gobbling up The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years After they actually learn French history.  Be that as it may, the Queen and the Cardinal were united by one goal: to give the future monarch absolute authority and victorious kingdom, and they succeeded. And as soon as he ascended the throne, Louis, traumatized by the Fronde years, went even further by demoting the powerful vassals (mostly his uncles, aunts, cousins, and other important feudal lords) to ineffectual courtiers (Hatton, Louis XIV and His World).

 

The magnificent palace of Versailles contained apartments for courtiers. However, in order to have the means to support themselves in style appropriate to their rank, the princes and marquises had to attend upon the king, who dispersed privileges seemingly at random. Lavish lifestyle included extravagant entertainment, the most important part of which was the ballet. Credited with invention of ballet as a genre, Louis often took the lead part.

 

The Sun King who brought his country to the apex of its power was far from humble. Asked whether it was legal to tax nobility rather than put the heavy tax burden solely on the poor population, he snapped, “It is legal because I wish it.” On his deathbed, he quipped, “The state? I am the state and the state is I.” He was definitely justified in taxing a multitude of rich relatives, close and distant, whose only occupation was to pay court to him, because someone had to pay for all this opulence. That someone was a humble commoner from the provinces who turned out to be a brilliant financier, Charles Colbert, later Finance Minister of France. Colbert was ably assisted by Louis de Béchameil, marquis de Nointel, the King Head Steward, who was a great art lover and a gourmand. It was Louis de Béchameil who took an older cream sauce, originally made by the famous chef la Varenne, and carved a place for himself in food history by creating the mother of all white sauces, named after him:

“That fellow Béchameil has all the luck! I was serving breast of chicken à la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce,” enviously commented another gourmand, Duke of Escars (Montagne, The Concise Larousse Gastronomique).

noodles 1

The classic Béchamel sauce consists of milk, butter, flour, cheese, and nutmeg and/or other spices. Inspired by wonderful Brenda Sue of the great blog David’s Way to Health and Fitness who pointed me towards Thrive Market where I found all kinds of healthy kosher goodies, I set out to make fake non-dairy and flour free béchamel. After several experimental attempts, coconut cream with nutritional yeast, enhanced by allspice, came pretty close.

noodles 3

Béchamel sauce can be used with practically anything, from pasta to seafood, and so can my fake one. I decided to try it out with my favorite combination of surimi (fake crab sticks) and extra firm tofu.

noodles 2

On a spur of a moment, I also added grated ginger and fresh dill – don’t ask me why, Beautiful People; it’s my sauce, and I have the right to do what I wish! After all, that’s what made Louis XIV great and his Head Steward Louis de Béchameil famous.

noodles 4

So far none of this actually had to be cooked. Mixed together, it tasted great. Yet I felt that something was missing – pasta. Luckily, I had on hand another great find from Thrive Market, Wonder Noodles. They are gluten free and ready to eat. If you want them hot, just pop them in the microwave for one minute.

noodles 5

So now I had it: drained Wonder Noodles (they come in all different varieties; this one was Macaroni) and a fantastic mix of fake crab, fake sauce Béchamel and real tofu. All I had to do is marry the two.

noodles fin

I spooned the mix on the bed of noodles, popped it in the microwave for one minute and – voila! – I had the fastest dinner I’ve ever had to make. Even Louis de Béchameil would be proud to serve it to his great and glorious king!

INGREDIENTS

Sauce:

  • 1 can (13.5 oz) of extra thick coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Main dish:

  • 1/2 lb surimi, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 lb extra firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill and some more for garnish
  • 1 package of Wonder Noodles or any pasta of your choice
  • Salt, white pepper, lemon juice to taste

PROCEDURE

  • Mix sauce ingredients well. Add ginger and dill, mix.
  • Add the rest of ingredients except pasta. Mix thoroughly. Add a few drops of lemon juice, salt, white pepper to taste.
  • Drain noodles. Place mix on bed on noodles, cover, microwave for 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle dill on top before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

78 Comments Add yours

  1. Some interesting information I did not know, Dolly. What a lovely idea to make a fake gluten free and diary free sauce.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Roberta! In my case, needs must.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. CarolCooks2 says:

    I love how ingenious you are and experimental, Dolly…I often use coconut milk/cream…I have never used nutritional yeast. I have looked at it and it is very expensive here for something I possibly wouldn’t use very often. You are very much like me as I often just add something to a dish because I can and often it works out well. Be well and stay safe dear Dolly 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, dear Carol! In my case, it’s needs must: I have started using nutritional yeast to have at least something resembling the taste of cheese – I am trying to cheat myself.

      Like

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        I think I would be doing the same if I had to Dolly luckily I don’t.. Be well and stay safe x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You too, dear Carol.

        Like

  3. Excellent non-fake history, Dolly, with a few fun versions thrown in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick. I held myself back from mentioning Mornay offshoot of Béchamel and using a clip from Mel Brooks’ History of the World. My funky mind takes me in strange directions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, what a wonderful sauce! How i love such sauces, on so many things. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But of course you love sauces – so does my husband with his New Orleans background. Thank you so much, dear Mimi; I am so glad you like this one!

      Like

  5. Always fascinating how a food came to being, the history of people always the main ingredient! Wonderful, Dolly! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Felipe. I hope you and your lovely other half are both well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Dolly 😊 We’re hanging in there, some days so busy (here at home) we wonder how we ever went out doing stuff before, lol! Other days, we saunter, bask in free flow and fill our days it seems still without effort. Wish we could go out more, see more family, travel again, but have no shortage of creative chores 💕 I trust ya’ll are prepared for hurricane season; I grew up in Houston & Galveston & been through “many” through the decades. Still, generally, if necessary, I much prefer a hurricane over a tornado 😊 Stay well, stay happy ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are very welcome, dear Felipe. We are always prepared for hurricanes, although Wilma took our boat two years ago, together with thousands of other small craft in South Florida. On the boat, I had my kayak and snorkeling gear, and my husband had all his fishing stuff.
        We’ve through a few, and we are reasonably used to them. That’s life.
        Be well and stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They’re definitely a powerful force of nature! Didn’t know you snorkeled 🤿 Dolly! I bet that’s fun! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I am a sea girl – grew up on the Black Sea; I do all kinds of water sports. My husband did too (we are from the same city), but now he is more into sitting there with a fishing rod in one hand and a big cigar in the other.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Ahhhaha, yes! Can see him enjoying that so much! Think I’d do much the same, lol! 😊 it’s so neat y’all two have been together for so many places and explorations! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I am sure that so have you and your beautiful half!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. 💕 so very true ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  6. GP Cox says:

    Sounds positively perfect for me!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go for it, GP; you don’t even have to cook it! Thank you so much for your kind comment, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GP Cox says:

        I’ve printed it out, but it will have to wait till I get back to the store.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Please let me know how it comes out – I hope you like it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. GP Cox says:

        I’m sure I will – nothing is in it that I don’t like!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Such beautiful prevention. I like the dish. And the cat. 🍃🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Gail; I am so pleased that you approve. The cat has a partner but both of them would overwhelm the composition, so I opted for one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, dear Gail!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. jonahzsong says:

    I’m sure I’ve never had the joy of Béchameil sauce. And certainly I’m woefully ignorant of French history. Through you, madame, I learn so much from every wonderful article you write. Thanks ever so much.

    And this Béchameil white sauce has me wondering about the origins of my Welsh mother’s white sauce recipe. She showed me once how to make it, but I’ve forgotten now. She loathed cheese, however, so it couldn’t have been a close match. But to the origins of her sauce recipe that would have come from her mother and perhaps passed down from earlier generations. . . Interesting tidbit: there were Welsh fishermen who regularly communicated with French fishermen in their own language. The Welshmen spoke Welsh, and the Frenchmen spoke their own dialect of Britany (I think they were from there) that was from old Welsh. They could understand each other quite well. Can’t imagine swapping recipes, however.

    Anyway, I really enjoy your articles, Dolly. Have a great week. Stay safe!

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Wil, first of all I turn green with envy every time I look at the photo of your boat. We lost our 25-foot Catalina to hurricane Wilma two years ago.
      Here is a little tidbit that didn’t find place in my post: before becoming Head Steward, Louis de Bechameil served as an Intendant of Brittany. It is there that he was noticed by Colbert for his reports on frauds and financial abuses. If Welsh fishermen communicated with their French counterparts, it is highly probable that important recipes were shared. However, your mother has probably used the older cream sauce, the predecessor of Béchamel, mentioned in my post.
      I thank you so much for your kind comment, dear friend; you are too kind!
      Sending blessings your way – be well and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jonahzsong says:

        Oh, so sorry you lost your Catalina to vicious Wilma.

        S/V Cassandra is in desperate need of a good Spring clean up, and some work, a never-ending ordeal. Still hoping to get her out of the lake and into salt water.

        Interesting that Louis de Béchameil was Indendant of Brittany–perhaps of Celtic stock.

        One of Mom’s favorite uses for her white sauce was adding parsley, and a lot of it, and liberally pouring over boiled potatoes. Reasonably quick and easy, for her, and quite delicious.

        Blessings received, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you are mooring or docking her in the lake, she is probably in a much better condition that ours, when we had it in salt water all year round. We had to have the bottom done every two months.
        White sauce with parsley is actually la Varenne’s classic cream sauce, about 20 years before Béchamel.
        Be well and stay safe, dear Wil!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. SAM VOELKER says:

    Oh you are charming me again with the ancient history I love, and then the manifestation of good gourmet food to eat, you could ruin me in a month. But thanks for starting my day off right~! I always enjoy reading your post, but even as a sous chef, I would surely ruin something. However I would willingly become your food tester or cup-bearer, while discussing ancient history.

    One part of your history of Louis XIV that does sound rather contemporary though: “It is legal because I wish it.”; “The state? I am the state and the state is I.” Though much fine gourmet French food did come out of that era, it was a time of gluttony, exclusiveness, compulsive sexual behavior and callousness of the “elite” for the common man, and that too seems to hang around even today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Sam, I would be happy to have you at my table as a guest, unless you wish to get paid as a food tester (may I pay in food?).
      I agree with your assessment of Louis le Grand epoch, yet I have mentioned in my post that he considered it unjust to tax the poor, rather than the rich, and pushed through the tax reform despite serious opposition.
      I thank you for a lovely comment, dear friend!
      Be well and stay safe.

      Like

  10. I did not know any of this about béchamel sauce! What a lovely read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling! But I wonder, didn’t your cat tell you all about his namesake’s era?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He tells me nothing. Until 3am. That’s when he suddenly feels a burning need to tell me things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Familiar situation!

        Like

  11. A_Boleyn says:

    Your ingenuity at creating these dishes with so many dietary restrictions amazes me. Well done, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always wonderful to hear from you, dear friend! I thank you for stopping by and I truly appreciate your kind comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love the flavors you’ve combined in this dish.
    I’m also a big fan of Pereg spices. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pereg spices are good, but we also have Badia, and some of those are even better.
      Thank you so much, dear Ronit; I truly appreciate your opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tried Badia, but didn’t like them as much. But of course it’s a matter of taste. I also try to support Israeli products whenever possible. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badia is local and owned by Cuban Jews. Also, I don’t do much with dried spices, but those that I use, Badia produces in commercial sizes, which comes out much cheaper. Of course, for items like Sumac or Shawarma spice Pereg is the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. From monarchy to pseudo cream sauce, I learn something from you every time I visit, Dolly! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Anna! I hope you are well and keeping safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And you, also, Dolly.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Brenda Sue says:

    Hello, Dear Dolly! I’m so happy that Thrive Market is helpful to you. As always, if there is anything else that we can do to help you, it would be an honor. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the kindest and the sweetest, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. David Yochim says:

    Hi Dolly, Brenda Sue and I are most humbled for your kind support. Thank you for the shout out for my blog!

    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome, dear David, and your great work totally deserves it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Joëlle says:

    Hi Dolly! I brought back GF nutritional yeast from the U.S. and haven’t used it much. My daughter makes a cheese-like batter for fried chicken bites using nutritional yeast, coconut oil, paprika and some rice flour maybe, I can’t remember exactly, but I found it very tasty. I will therefore be able to give your interesting adaptation of the Béchamel sauce a try. Thank you 😊
    Louis XIV’s last words « I am France » were recently echoed by « Je suis la République », words spat out by the leader of the far left party « La France Insoumise» as he vehemently protested a search of his office (he has been investigated for illegally using European Parliament funds, amongst other things). Both statements are very revealing of boundless egotism and arrogance… France, alas, has a long history of strong men whose sole purpose is to help themselves and fill their own purse! Of course Louis needed a lot of money in order to 1) build his extravagant palace 2) fortify a lot of cities and protect the French coast with the help of Vauban and 3) engage in a myriad of wars — thirty-three years out of the fifty-four that he reigned were spent fighting England, Spain, Holland, and even countries like Sweden! How did the nobles find the money to pay him? By squeezing their peasants of course. But Louis XIV was a protector of the arts and for that I am grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you would have a few words on this topic, dear Joelle!
      According to most sources, Louis actually said “I am the state,” rather than “France”, and even that is questionable, although very much in character. But of course you would know better – all I can do is read translations.
      I did not want to mention wars and fortifications only because they didn’t fit into my narrative. He had a very long reign and accomplish much too much to mention in one humble post. With all his arrogance, he probably had more reasons for this statement than a contemporary far left politician who identifies himself with the Republic. A propos, on the subject of strong men, do you feel the same way about Charlemagne?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joëlle says:

        Well, I don’t know enough about Charlemagne to comment on him. Not sure what truly pushed him to conquer so many territories. Unlike Louis XIV, however, he was a lot more successful in his war waging ventures! Oh, and going back to Louis if I may, I recently heard (one of the history podcasts I love to listen to while gardening 👩🏻‍🌾) that he almost never went into battle himself. You see, should his army lose with him present at the battle site, his « divine power » would surely have been questioned!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, in that Louis was certainly different from “The Three Suns – The Three Sons of York” who always went into battles themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Dear friend,
    I love this post.
    Much love,
    M

    Like

    1. I was hoping you’d like it, dear Micheline, Thank you for stopping by and commenting, dear friend.
      Be well and stay safe!
      Much love,
      D

      Like

  18. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    THINGS DO GO BETTER WITH GINGER! A REAL BLAST FROM THE CULINARY PAST!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging and a lovely comment, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Only the best…here rest! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  19. An exciting quick recipe. The metaphoric fake sauce became a delicious reality throughout Europe especially with Isabella and Ferdinand. Loved your choice of videos Dolly, they were very entertaining!💕🌺💕☕️☕️

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, darling, but Isabella and Ferdinand pre-dated Louis XIV by almost 100 years. As far as I know, Isabella was very much into fresh fruit and vegetables, but not sauces. I am glad you liked my choice of videos!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed! Cheers to predecessors who inspire and pave the way for those to come, even subliminally. You are an excellent influencer of history, Dolly! 💕🌺💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the compliment, dear friend (blushing all over the internet)!

        Like

  20. Sounds great, and looks much more greater.Thank you, Dolly! With this knowledge about history is much more delicious. Be well and stay save. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Michael. Have a great weekend, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you too, Dolly! Hope you and yours are well. Enjoy your weekend too. Michael

        Like

  21. lghiggins says:

    My husband loves to make Béchamel sauce, so it is fun to read of its origins. I love the videos you chose to share as well as the history. As always, a wonderful post combining history, food, and the arts. Thank you for sharing; I know it must take a lot of time to put a post like this together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a lovely comment, dear Linda! You are very perceptive: it does take a lot of time, and time is something I am usually short of most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve never heard of surimi, but it does look lovely! Loved learning the origin of the humble béchamel sauce – brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, darling! Surimi is fake crab, or fake crab sticks (depending on how it is packaged). It is made of real fish, cod or pollock. If you are vegan, you can just use extra firm tofu (I sometimes do that when I run out of surimi), and if you do not observe Kosher laws, you can use real crab meat or any fish you like.

      Liked by 1 person

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