27 Condiments to Spice Up Summer!
Grilling season is here and with it, the sticky battalion of diminutive glass jars in my refrigerator come into their own!
Break out the Condiments!
Non-foodies admit they are baffled by the sticky battalion which dominates my refrigerator’s upper regions and most of the door shelves. Many have labels in exotic languages and alphabets, while others sport handwritten names on blue painter’s tape. It’s like a model UN in a SubZero. My idea of perfection.
This drives some members of my family insane. My parents are staying with us for a few weeks and I know my father is about to go round the bend as he tries to insert his 2-gallon jug of Lactose into what little space there is left in a fridge dominated by weird bottles and pots, fermenting stuff, and some kvass chilling before a photo shoot. He’s also itching to take some ammonia to the layer of stickiness coating the shelves. But I’m adamant: my fridge, my rules. But who needs oversized milk or orange juice jugs when you can have a colony of things like adjika or Ponzu?
I find condiments essential throughout the entire year.
Condiments are the hidden ingredient that makes people stagger back when they taste something I’ve made and say, “My God, how do you make this?” They also make life far, far more interesting: the teeniest dab of Chinese chilli flake sauce can enliven an otherwise lackluster bowl of cottage cheese and a little cilantro chutney can do wonders in a grain bowl. But condiments truly come into their own in summer, as the key building blocks of marinades for meat destined for the grill, swirled into labneh or drizzled on hummus, or whisked into the dressing of a cold potato or pasta salad. They are fabulous when simply slathered on… well… on anything. Except perhaps vanilla icecream. That could go horribly wrong.
Think of a sturdy condiment with a robust flavor as a magical elixir with esoteric alchemical properties. That’s what it is, and this is particularly true during lockdown when “shopping in the pantry” is always less fraught than masking up to go to the grocery store. If you have a good supply of condiments on hand, you need never hear the dreaded words, “chicken breasts…again?” hurled at you.
I have devoted many happy hours stumbling upon new and fascinating condiments.
I prowl through Asian Food Stores, haunt the farmers’ markets, and trawl the internet for the more exotic and esoteric sauces you don’t find in the aisles of conventional supermarkets.
So, if you feel your home cooking game is getting stale, or you need something other than tomato ketchup in your life, consider one of the delectable, flavorful, and downright essential condiments listed below. I’ve included my favorite ways to use them, but don’t limit yourself by any means!
Enjoy spicing up summer with these 27 condiments!
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Photos in this post are sourced from Shutterstock and Jennifer Eremeeva
Exploring food markets, developing recipes, and just eating was once my hobby, but now it is a full-time job. I write about food markets around the world, develop recipes, and study culinary history and emerging trends. I have a particular interest in Russian and Eastern European cuisine and culinary history.
I believe that great books are part of a life well lived and this extends to audio entertainment. Under the Lifestyle umbrella, I review books, podcasts, and audiobooks, I discuss writing and reading and am constantly on the lookout for new ways to be productive and clear all manner of clutter from my life.