400 Sauces is a a British publication (Hermes House) so some yankee readers will have to adjust to a terminology in which a rocket is not a spaceship but a leaf (arugula, if you didn't know) and measurements are given in metrics as well as ounces. There are some distinctly British offerings that may disorient stateside users: where, outside of a hunting lodge, have you last encountered Cumberland sauce (pages 66, 343); where (perhaps The Inn at Little Washington?) would you find not just a recipe for watercress cream (page 58) but the correct dishes with which to serve it (salmon or sea trout, if you're wondering). Begin by mastering sauce basics (ingredients, measures, prep) and continue by mastering basic sauces (beurre blanc, veloute, bechamel, et cetera). The book moves on to great sections on chutneys, salsas, pickles and relishes, dessert sauces, salad dressings, jams and jellies, marinades and dozens of additional sauces, condiments and virtually every other thing you can serve alongside, atop, or surrounding another food.
Once you've paged through the book, the only quandary will be where to dive in. Here's a suggestion: home bound winter days are perfect for breaking out the canning equipment. What will you be distributing hand-filled jars of? A spoonful of cranberry relish (page 394) will enliven a sandwich made with the last of the leftover turkey. A jar of dill pickles (page 400) is easy to make and will be appreciated on Superbowl Sunday. Almost any slashfoodie would welcome preserved lemons (page 410) or homemade ketchup (page 346). If you are feeling indulgent, whip up some caramel sauce (page 274) for cookies and ice cream (or, if you're sticking to the serving suggestion or your New Year's diet, serve it with oranges). As for me, I'm already brining the vegetables for Bloody Mary relish (page 348). And if you're worried about canning, don't be: it does not have to be a complicated process, and both the USDA and Slashfood have got you covered.
How can there be anything but value to a cookbook that teaches how to make everything from a correct roux (page 32) to mayonnaises basic (page 40) to advanced (pages 58, 98 and 99)? 400 Sauces would be a treasure if it merely delivered on the promise of its title -- luckily, the book is as much of an overachiever in the kitchen as you will be once you put it to use.