In cooking, a sauce is liquid, cream, or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa, meaning salted. Possibly the oldest sauce recorded is garum, the fish sauce used by the Ancient Greeks.
Sauces need a liquid component, but some sauces (for example, pico de gallo salsa or chutney) may contain more solid components than liquid. Sauces are an essential element in cuisines all over the world.
Sauces may be used for sweet or savory dishes. They may be prepared and served cold, like mayonnaise, prepared cold but served lukewarm like pesto, cooked and served warm like bechamel or cooked and served cold like apple sauce. Sauces may be freshly prepared by the cook, especially in restaurants, but today many sauces are sold premade and packaged like Worcestershire sauce, HP Sauce, soy sauce or ketchup. Sauces for salad are called salad dressing. Sauce made by deglazing a pan are called pan sauces.
A cook who specializes in making sauces is called a saucier.