help with cooking problem please  August 18 2003 

 I am wanting to try this "sauce" for a third time. I am sort of in a hurry as my window of opportunity is running out. My husband wants to be able to have the windows of the house open if I make this. He says it stinks up the house. I don't remember it smelling that bad. It takes 14 days to make this and I need to have it done before the cool weather of fall (autumn) hits (and I have to close the windows).

The "sauce" is called, "Napoleon's Camp Sauce". It is from the book, "Moore's Universal Assistant", copyright in 1879. (I think this recipe makes some something like a "Worchester" sauce.)

Napoleon's Camp Sauce Old strong beer, 2 qts., white wine, 1 qt., anchovies, 4 ounces; mix; boil for ten minutes; remove it from the fire, and add peeled shallots, 3 ounces; macerate for 14 days, and bottle.

The recipe says to "macerate" the mixture for 14 days. I just do not know a proper way to "macerate" this. Most definitions of "macerate" say that it is to "soften and separate by soaking" or "to grow or make lean". They also talk about soaking fruit in wine or liquor as macerating.

The only thing is, I tried setting the bowl of cooked mixture in the cool basement in a stainless bowl covered with a cloth. I kept it there around 14 days. (Maybe I did not get that far.) The liquid ended up with a thick dense mold which floated on top. My husband's late grandmother gave me the idea to put it in the basement covered with a cloth. I think I may have used a damp cloth.

The next time I tried this recipe, I put it in the refrigerator. (Probably? covered in plastic wrap.) It ended up with a thick dense mold on it again. (don't know if it was the same type of mold as the one before) My father in law brought to my attention that some recipes are meant to ferment or get a mold on them. He wondered if maybe this "sauce" was supposed to get the mold on it for it to "do". My husband and I were afraid to try it after it go the mold on it. We did not know if that was a good mold or a bad one.

My husband wants me to find out more about "macerating" this recipe before I try it again. I would like to try making this again. Some how I have this idea of people "in the olden days" cooking "something" in a pot for many days over a low fire. Don't know where I got the idea from---(maybe watching "westerns" on television?).

I looked up "macerate" again online. I found a definition from 1913 that says, "3. To soften by steeping in a liquid, with or without heat; to wear away or separate the parts of by steeping; as, to macerate animal or vegetable fiber." This would indicate that I could put this recipe on to slow cook for the 14 days and "macerate" it that way. This time I wanted to try it in a "crock pot" (electric slow cooker) on low for 14 days.

Does anyone have any idea how I could go about properly "macerating" this recipe? Any ideas on how I can find out if it is supposed to ferment or get a mold on it? I looked up "Napoleon's Camp Sauce" in google and found nothing. Any help in this matter will be appreciated!!!!


Reply to my post: I got a reply from a chef in Panama to this post.

help with cooking problem please comments January 21 2004


Hi there! would like to know what happened to your Napoleonīs camp sauce? did you finally find a way to -macerate- it? I have some ideas for you IF you are still interested. Please e-mail me directly and I will be happy to help you. Happy New Year!

mel []

More Replies:


Thursday, January 22, 2004 7:40 PM


This is Robyn S. My blog is "whatdougalldoes". Happy New Year to you as well.

I am not sure how you found the post on my blog. I know my blog is available for anyone to read it. I am still getting used to "strangers" posting replies to what I write. It is amazing how all of this "computer stuff" works.

I asked some questions about "macerating" at one of the "Epicurious" forums. The conversation quickly turned to soup and broth. I learned some things I might do to make the, Napoleon's Camp Sauce. I did not learn anything definite. No one was sure what to do to make it. Most people are like, "Why would you want to make that?".

I would enjoy learning anything you know about "macerating" this sauce.

This "sauce", is one of those things that "sounds", horrible, but if you taste the unfinished product, it is not too bad.

I did not try making this recipe during the past summer. I started thinking about it too late. Maybe I can be prepared for next year.

I always thought, that if this turned out well enough I could bottle it and give it out as Christmas presents.

I was looking at your web site. I see you were a pastry chef. That sounds like a fun job. I always crave things like cake and pastries. Tried to make some cookies for Christmas. They were so thick we nearly burned out the motor on the hand mixer. They make good cookies, but we need to cut the recipe down even further next time.

It must be nice in Panama right now. I live in Michigan.


We have snow on the ground now. I have quite a collection of cookbooks. I don't seem to do much cooking though. It is just fun to read how people lived and did things long ago. One book is from Brazil. The recipes are in both Brazilian Portuguese and English. The recipes calling for native fruits and fish are very strange to us here. We have never heard of some of the fruit or fish. That book, is from the 1950's. Some of the books have "house hold hints" in them. Those are always fun to read.

I should let you go. Thanks for responding to my post. Sorry I haven't written sooner.

Robyn in frozen Michigan

Automated Response:

Thursday, January 22, 2004 7:40 PM

Thanks for contacting! We will respond as soon as we can! For last minute requests please contact Chef M. by telephone (507) ***-****

*****Gracias por contactar! Le responderemos en la brevedad posible. Para solicitudes de ultimo momento, favor contactar a la Chef M. via telefōnica al (507) ***-****



Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:02 PM

Hi Robyn, thanks for writing...I think I was researching for some recipe @ when I found your blog.
If you really want to learn about bizarre, yuckky recipes...just visit the following address: Believe me, I am a professional chef but this ancient recipe technique is just too much. I do not doubt it is really yummy IF you do not know what they did to the duck
Regarding the "macerating" procedure, I can suggest the following: once you have the sauce ready to -macerate- put it in a glass container, close it very well and then wrap it in dark cloth or paper and then put it in a dark is similar to what you do when you are making liqueurs. Just cover it up and let it rest in a dark place. During this time it will be -maturing-, will be developing flavours, aging. Then, after the required time, the regular procedure is to strain it, put it through a very fine sieve or cheese cloth....Thatīs it. Then, re-heat and serve.
Feel free to try it again and ask questions if you want to.
Chef M.
Panama Gourmet Inc.
Tel.: (507) ***-****
Website en Espaņol:
Para obtener deliciosas recetas publicadas diariamente visite:

Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:11 PM

Hi Roby, is me again...from Panama.
I forgot to tell you that yes, I am a Pastry Chef but I am also a Chef de Cuisine-----I went thorugh the whole thing. It was FUN!  
Take care, M.


Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:37 PM

Thanks for the reply. I will try this again sometime and use your suggestion. It is really good to learn something new.

I like watching chefs on television sometimes. There was a program on our cable, "Great Chefs of the World".

I like eating duck too, but the recipe you sent was a little strange. Each culture has food that is "strange" to another culture. I have a friend in China who doesn't know cheese. (They don't eat cheese in China.)

Thanks again. Robyn

Automated Response:

Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:37 PM

Thanks for contacting! We will respond as soon as we can! For last minute requests please contact Chef M. by telephone (507) ***-****

*****Gracias por contactar! Le responderemos en la brevedad posible. Para solicitudes de ultimo momento, favor contactar a la Chef M. via telefōnica al (507) ***-****