Condiments!

As I dumped half a container of parmesan cheese onto my pasta today, I started thinking about the history of condiments. Not sure why, since it’s nothing new for me to load enough parmesan on my pasta to kill a horse, but it got me thinking about the kind of condiments my characters would have used in the Regency era.

The oldest and most common condiments are things you’ll find in pretty much every kitchen across the world: salt, pepper, vinegar, cinnamon and, of course, mustard. What I didn’t expect was the discovery that ketchup has been around for centuries. It seems like such a modern condiment, invented for burgers and fries. But it would seem, according to this Wikipedia article, that ketchup was in fact used in the Regency, and even before! Makes me wonder what Phoebe and Benjamin might have smothered in ketchup…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchup

My favorite condiment is parmesan…I can’t eat pasta without it! And I always unscrew the tops off restaurant parmesan dispensers for better coverage!Β Warm spices like cinnamon and clove come in second for me, especially in the fall.

What’s your favorite condiment? Is there a particular condiment you can’t seem to get enough of? Is there a condiment you absolutely can’t stand?

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18 thoughts on “Condiments!

  1. Nancy says:

    I am SUCH a ketchup junkie! I’ll put it on anything I can get away with. In fact I use it as a basis for my barbecue sauce. Recipe’s here: http://servesone.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/my-kick-ass-barbecue-sauce/

    Not a fan of mustard.

    And it’s funny but I used to hate relish as a child but now as an adult, I love it.

  2. Beth C. says:

    I dislike greatly Mayonnaise. I use the barest minimum amount to make tuna fish. And never ever does it go on a burger or sandwich of mine.

    I love Ketchup. So do my kids. Fries are a carrier of ketchup.

  3. You know…I never really thought of this. But I suppose they would have to use something back in those days, right? lol

    I’m a salt and pepper gal. Can’t eat unless there is salt and pepper.

    ~Phyllis~

  4. gail says:

    Hi Jerrica!

    My husband is a big fan of Harissa, which is a North African condiment made of hot peppers, garlic, and carrots. He puts it on everything, probably because it drowns out my cooking πŸ™‚

  5. Oooh, thanks for the recipe, Nancy! I’ll have to try it!
    And that’s so funny about relish – I’m the same way! I never liked it as a kid, but now I think it makes a burger/hot dog!

  6. I go through phases with mayo, Beth…it’s got to be just the right amount for me. I had a macaroni salad last night that was drenched in it. Blech!

  7. Phyllis, do you know I don’t use salt and pepper for ANYTHING! Only if I’m making a recipe that calls for it (which is rare since I don’t really cook) do I use either of those.

  8. LOL! Gail, I’m sure you’re cooking isn’t THAT bad!
    That stuff sounds yummy, though I’m not sure I’ll be trying it anytime soon…garlic and baby are not agreeing these days!

  9. Nancy says:

    @Jerrica I’m sure you’ll love it! I guess it’s true what they say about your taste buds changing with age.

  10. Lise says:

    Condiments are a food group, I’ll have you know. My particular favorites are #1 – Garlic salt (and I have a container in my purse, my desk drawer and at home). #2 – Hot sauce. On eggs, hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken wings, anything Mexican or Spanish.

    Of course, I’d be desolate without mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard, and I too have a heavy hand with the parmesean cheese!

    Interesting tidbit about ketchup and I’ll be investigating its history further!

    Given the role food can play in an historical – be it to establish “place” and “time” and give scents and sights to your scenes, it has the always sensual quality (remember Tom Jones?) that can leave a reader smacking her lips….

  11. Maria says:

    Vinegar! (Is that really a condiment?) I love vinegar on everything — eggs, rice, lettuce, steak. It just gives food an extra zip. Love it.

  12. Lise, you have a new name: Condiment Queen! LOL! I love that you carry garlic salt around with you. So funny!

  13. Vinegar! Really?!? It never occurs to me to put vinegar on anything, though I use apple cider vinegar for heartburn…it’s a miracle!

  14. I don’t care for curry, but like to use cinnamon when using apples for desserts. Mayo is always necessary when fixing sandwiches, even better than butter. I can’t stand catsup on french fries. Everyone teases me it is unAmerican not to. πŸ™‚

  15. I agree, Paisley…apples and cinnamon are a yummy combo!

    Do you ever try mixing ketchup with mayo for fries? That’s a delicious blend πŸ™‚

  16. NO – I just love potatoes of any kind and can’t imagine ruining them with catsup or anything else but salt. Sounds healthy, doesn’t it?! πŸ™‚

  17. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Gotta have them. Horseradish, too, but not usually in the same dish unless I’ve used it as a rub for beef prior to roasting.

    Never thought of ketchup in regard to the Regency. I’ll be checking that out.

  18. Mmmm…I love those first four things you listed, Gwynlyn! YUM!

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