The author of the web site, Linda Stradley, makes a bit of a leap of faith when she says, "Sauces and gravies were used to mask the flavor of tainted foods." To back her statement, she uses a quote from Marian Woodman's article that says, "...possibly
to conceal doubtful freshness, possibly
to demonstrate the variety of costly spices available to the host."
The word possibly
being the operative word. So, to conceal doubtful freshness is no more of a known reason why sauces exist, than the reason to demonstrate one's wealth by using a variety of costly spices.
sauces and gravies", is a gross overstatement.
maybe preposterous was a bit overdone, but there is no definate proof that sauces were created for the purpose of covering tainted meat. No more viable than the reason was to "show off" one's wealth, which was a very fashionable thing to do in Roman times.
and the article was speaking about Roman
custom 200 AD and commented solely on that. So permit me stretch, or make a leap, as much as Linda Stradley...The fact that Romans were using such elaborate sauces would indicate that "sauces" and the use of "sauces" had long been around. So, one can easily surmise that Romans did not invent sauce. Therefore, the Roman use of sauce, even if it was to conceal bad meat, was not the exclusive use, nor necessarily the intended use of sauce prior to the Romans.
~Now that may be taking some liberty from Woodman's remark in one direction, but no more liberty than Stradley took.
taken from: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsauces.html
Food historians tell us sauces were "invented" for many reasons. The three primary
1. Cooking medium
2. Meat tenderizer
3. Flavor enhancer