Chicago, Illinois. Driving along the interstate, there's a gigantic billboard that reads: "No texting, no speeding, no ketchup". Inciting the ire or support of people all over the nation, people can get a little salty about their condiments.
Chefs, restaurateurs, diners, everyone who eats has an opinion about condiments. Kitchens are known to have turned off the electric meat cutters, stop grinding meat, and paused pondering proteins, for arguments are to be had. How people choose to complement their foods is a source of heated debate.
Like pizza is America's favorite comfort food yet breeds intense disagreements, so, too, do condiments. Well, America needs to chill out. If you're so sick of condiments here, why not try some from across the world? We know a few fun ones that'll bring you beyond the borders of your own culinary comfort zones.
- Smorgaskaviar: We'll jump right in and start with the strange Scandinavian spread. As you know, caviar is a luxurious delicacy made from fish roe (eggs). This is its much less luxurious distant cousin. Made from fish roe pureed in a mix of herbs and spices, it's served from something that resembles a toothpaste tube.
- Vegemite: You're likely more familiar with this Australian staple. Either loved or hated, it's made from the leftover yeast from beer brewers and combined with unnamed vegetables and spices. It is very salty. Almost as salty as the Australians who argue about it.
- Fish Sauce: An incredibly popular condiment in Thai cuisine, fish sauce is exactly what it sounds like. It's a mixture of fermented fish and salt. Incredibly fishy, it's not usually used on its own, but makes for a delightful addition to many dishes for flavoring.
- Monkey Gland Sauce: In South Africa, this sauce is used the same way we use ketchup here in the United States. Name notwithstanding, it's actually made from fruits and spices and has a thicker, BBQ-sauce like consistency.
When the professional meat grinder ceases its whirr and cutting meat stops, let's not dive into condiment fueled arguments that rarely get resolved. Instead, let's channel our energy into preparing proteins with condiments we've not tried before. After all the culinary world is meant for adventure, so let's get adventurous.