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Fri, Jun 27th - 9:27PM

Condiment Conundrum

Tonight’s supper was homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes and canned peas heated with a bit of sugar. I wonder how many meatloafs I’ve eaten over the course of my lifetime? When I try to remember the milieu of main dishes that were part of my growing up years, I sometimes forget meatloaf and we had it a lot. Meatloaf was my only food platform for catsup (just as hotdogs were my only food platform for mustard). I really wonder about myself. Was I alone in hating certain condiments EXCEPT on their specific foods? I swear I didn’t eat catsup on anything else (until I learned to mix it half and half with mayonnaise and slather it on French fries. Then it was called secret sauce, not catsup. The mayonnaise mellowed the sharp sweetness I didn’t like.) I truly loved mustard on hot dogs, only mustard, nothing else. But I HATED mustard on anything else, it ruined all other foods -it just took over.


In our house there was only French’s mustard and it never went into food, only on it. It took me a very long time as an adult to discover other mustards and to develop a taste for their tangy differences. Dipping salami slices in garlic flavored or hot and sweet mustard is now a treat. I still do not enjoy mustard on bread other than hotdog buns. Oh, maybe when a light smear of Grey Poupon or other gourmet mustard is mixed with some mayonnaise on a gourmet turkey sandwich or some such.


My sister-in-law’s boyfriend loves mustards so for Christmas we gave him a gift of four different gourmet mustards with some nice salami. It was amazing shopping for the gift. There are shelves teaming with mustards. There are the hot ones, like Chinese Hot Mustard. There are mustards paired with endless flavors like garlic or raspberry. Mustards have varying textures; there are the ones with whole seeds in them and the purely creamy. 


            We have five different mustards in our refrigerator these days. My husband cooks with them; we use them to accompany hors d oeuvres. My folks would really wonder about us. There is always, though, a jar of French’s, for those hotdog moments. Just as I had to have catsup on tonight’s meatloaf or it just wouldn’t have tasted right.


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