Jose Mier on the Underappreciated Flavor Boosters
I spend a lot of time writing about wonderful foods and recipes from around the world and why not? I love food. But we often overlook those sauces, dips, relishes, spreads or powders that take our food to the next level. Yes, I’m talking about the humble condiment.
I extolled the virtue of the hot dog on my July 4 Jose Mier post. And what self-respecting American would eat that hot dog without mustard, ketchup or onions or relish? Hardly a one.
That cousin to the hot dog, that import from our neighbors to the South, the taco is tasty in all its forms, but how many would eat them without boosting the flavor with some salsa? Mild, hot or scorching? Very few.
My point is we love our food but we also love to put things on it. Our condiments are about as important as the food itself. Our ribs get extra sauce. Our fries cry out for ketchup. Our salads must have some sort of dressing. Even fancy dishes like rack of lamb need to be accompanied by some mint jelly. Lowbrow to highbrow we want (we need?) something that will enhance the flavor and experience of eating. In short, we need condiments.
And I didn’t even touch on Sriracha…
And all this is no laughing matter. According to one statistic the worldwide condiment industry (sauces, dressings and condiments) did a whopping $130.4 billion (with a B) in sales in 2018. That’s a lot of mustard.
No, there’s no arguing the Americans and the rest of the world love to pour, squeeze, dip and slather our food with something else. So the next time you bite into that hot dog or burger or munch another French fry, take a moment to consider the humble condiment and give it the honor it deserves.