Sauces, marinades, dressings, or whatever your favorite word is for them, we all love condiments. Most of us could not imagine eating foods without having them within arms reach. After all, they have the potential and possibility to make the more boring and bland foods exciting or even tolerable. For you word nerds out there, namely my lifelong friend Davonna Livingston, condiment is defined as a substance such as salt or ketchup that is used to add flavor to food. It’s origin is late Middle English: from Latin term condimentum, from condire, which means ’to season’ or ‘to pickle.’

For me the use of condiments solely depends on what I'm eating. For example, the only time I use steak sauce would be on a steak ordered at a place like Waffle House. Daddy taught me that fine cuts of meat don't 'need' steak sauce. 

Growing up, ketchup was my number one choice; specifically Heinz Ketchup. A few instances Mama bought brands bearing the name of Hunt's, Stokley and Del-Monte (or whatever was on sale, never a "store" brand). Oh how I shudder in thought of not having that sweet, sugary taste of Heinz. I moaned and groaned enough that eventually Heinz was the only brand in the Patten refrigerator. Much like Daddy's philosophy regarding steak sauce on a steak, Mama didn't allow me to use ketchup on her Mommy Mades (Homemade French Fries). I currently reach for "Simply Heinz", one made with sugar as opposed to High Fructose Corn Syrup. However it no longer holds place as first choice of condiments.

Duke's Mayonnaise on a Tomato Sandwich

Duke's Mayonnaise on a Tomato Sandwich

Mayonnaise has always been a close second choice. And don't even think about serving me Miracle Whip. There may be some of you who would disagree, but mayonnaise should never be substituted with Salad Dressing aka Miracle Whip. That is one thing I will fight you over!  

However, for the amount I of mayonnaise I go through in my kitchen, it ranks number one with a bullet. I used it over LeSeur Early Peas as my most bizarre use during my teens. In college, classmates from Valdosta State College helped me discover mixing mayonnaise with ketchup for eating with french fries. 

It wasn't until moving to Nashville almost 13 years ago that I discovered Duke's Mayonnaise. I prefer it to any other for it's taste and consistency. I also like that it doesn't have added sugar. Blue Plate mayonnaise is my second choice.   

There are others I like but to my most beloved list I add the following(in no particular order):
Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
Ranch Dressing (Hidden Valley package mixed with milk and Dukes ONLY. I refuse to eat any kind of bottled Ranch…it’s just not palatable)
Thousand Island Dressing(homemade preferred; Mama always had a bottle of the Kraft brand on hand)
Heinz 57 Steak Sauce(awesome combined with mayonnaise for fries)
Blue Cheese Dressing(homemade and/or any kind of refrigerated type of blue cheese dressing)

Nola Restaurant, Palo Alto, California

Nola Restaurant, Palo Alto, California

Hot Sauce is another favorite. Interestingly enough, until I was about 20 years old in college, I would not eat anything hot and spicy. The first Buffalo wings I ever ate were in college at the Mill House in Valdosta. Over the years I’ve dived a little deeper into the hot zone. I have no preferences for hot sauce but the ones i’m likely to buy most often are Frank's, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce and Trappey's.

The idea for this blog posts was as I struggle with eating healthy, I have been putting hot sauce over steamed broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. When I mean steamed, I mean steamed just enough to take the initial raw bite off. So let's just say I'm eating them raw, ok? Hot sauce makes them bearable and actually enjoyable. 

I would love to hear your comments on this. What is your favorite condiment and what are you most interesting uses for them?

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