If Condiments Were Drugs, then I Live in a Crack House.

I got a new refrigerator last week. It’s all shiny, stainless steel goodness and the fact that I love it so much is just a tad bit bothersome. It dwarfs my old one and I bet Ellie’s and Pueblo Girl’s would both fit in it with room to spare.

Refrigerators are funny things. Some of the food that’s stored on the shelves is transient–just taking up temporary quarters until it’s baked or grilled or boiled. But other items seem to take root. They apply for citizenship, stake their claim and hunker down in the dark chill for all time.

Beware–those items breed–especially the condiments.

As I was transferring items from the old fridge to the new, I made a few discoveries.







I prefer the Hellman’s in the middle. Husband prefers whatever he finds on sale. The one on the left is one I inherited after my last lake trip. And there’s more in the pantry.









I like to try different kinds of barbecue sauce. Husband prefers the one on the right. And there’s more in the pantry.









Here’s a selection of random flavor enhancements. No matter how hard I try not to, I always seem to have two jars of capers open at the same time. Is it just me, or does that happen to y’all too? Of course, there’s more in the pantry.









And here’s where it really gets scary–seven kinds of mustard, including two that I bought in France several years ago and have been “saving” because, you know, I bought them in France.  We had a friend join us for Thanksgiving. As he was loading up his car for the trip home yesterday, I asked if he wanted a turkey sandwich for the road. He said that he did, but could he please have mustard on it instead of mayonnaise.

Sure. What kind would you like?

He looked at me, slightly perplexed.

Dijon…whole grain…spicy…tarragon…um, regular yellow…

You see, my friend lives in one-mustard-only kind of world. The idea of having to choose among mustards was foreign, but he went out on a limb and opted for the whole grain. I snuck a little dijon on the bread as well, just for a contrast.

So tell me, is this condiment fetish just me or do they breed in your refrigerator as well? And don’t get me started on the pickles, relishes and olives. That’s a whole other blog.


Filed under At Home, Food/Cooking

19 responses to “If Condiments Were Drugs, then I Live in a Crack House.

  1. Same here! Once they started adding horseradish and wasabi to condiments, that required another round of everything.

    About the mayonnaise… I used to buy Helmann’s, but switching to Duke’s gave me such a boost in rating with my really southern son-in-law that I’ve stuck with it ever since.

    Sunday Morning had a segment last week on how Heinz has captured the ketchup market in a way unmatched in other condiments. Are they right? Do you have only one ketchup bottle?

  2. lashlee

    So you got me curious and when I looked in my fridge I found dijon, horseradish, honey, yellow, and stoneground mustards. 5 kinds!!! I also found 4 types of pickles and relish. I think I have a fetish too. Maybe it runs in the family…

  3. Cindy, I’m right there with you on the capers.

    I love me some condiments, too. Right now my favorite in the fridge is chutney.

  4. Is your new fridge an up and down or a side by side?

    Mrs. Wife buys lite mayonnaise. It drives me nuts. Inferior in every way imaginable; look, consistency, taste. What an abomination.

  5. tulip

    Well, now I’m jealous – a new fridge! And jealous, too, that your condiments don’t appear to be sticky or stained – ya’ll must be more careful than the eaters at my house… I’m ashamed to admit we have often have mayo and Miracle Whip, as well as butter AND margarine.
    And I’m curious, too – side by side or up and down? Sigh. Fridge-envy is so wrong.

  6. I usually find this sort of thing in our fridge when I clean it out once a year or so. What’s even scarier are the dates on some of our condiments. I’m all “2009?! REALLY?!”

  7. One can never have too much mustard! I love mustard. Though the only kind we have in the house (or have had in our house for the past 7 years) is Colmans. Hot like wasabi. Clears out the nose, tears up the eyes, then all better. In addition to sandwiches, we put spoonfuls in our chicken soup and cook chicken, onions, and sweet potatoes marinated in Colmans.

    Having a man like The Man in the house tends to keep condiment breeding to a minimum.

  8. my refrigerator is also a “Condiment Roach Motel”. they go in, and stay. until i feel overrun with small bottles of stuff with sticky lids, and throw them all in the dumpster…

  9. Totally. In fact, we breed Japanese condiments, because hubby’s friends stock him up with all the rare things you can’t get in Germany. This involves several jars of slightly different forms of dried fish.

    Cans in the pantry have a habit of doing the same thing. There’s always a tin of <French Onion Soup and Cream of Mushroom. They seem to be needed in recipies that I can't recall ever wanting to cook.

  10. You could probably fit my entire kitchen in your fridge 🙂

    My partner is a bulk buyer and a hoarder. We have a whole shelf devoted to condiments in the fridge. Of course, only the ones at the front, which you can see, get used. Cleaning the fridge always brings plenty of surprises, not all of them nice.

  11. Completely off topic.

    If you’re interested in this sort of thing, there’s a world class Impressionist exhibit at the Frist Center. Wish it were coming to New York.

  12. i don’t see any problem with having 7 types of mustard!! a friend of mine nearly died the other day when i showed him the entire shelf i have devoted to spices… there’s got to be at least 50 bottles there!!

  13. All things spicy and pickly and all things Asian reproduce like rabbits in our fridge


  14. MM–What I really like is homemade mayo–it takes about one minute in the Cuisinart. Is the Duke’s sweeter than Hellman’s? That was always my impression.
    Lash–You never know what traits will show up in shared DNA.
    Susie–Isn’t that funny? There’s no way I can justify two open jars of capers. And I guarantee you there’s a jar in the pantry as well.
    UB–I’d rather have mustard than lite mayo. And on your other comment–I’ve actually been to that exhibit at the Frist. There are some stunning pieces. But I’ve also been to the Musee D’Orsay several times, Giverney and L’Orangerie. It was nice, but left me wanting more.
    Tulip & UB–It’s has French doors on top for the fridge, and two freezer drawers below–one shallow and one with two deeper compartments. Home Depot had them on sale and the delivery guy said they were going like crazy.
    Also has cool LED lighting inside and uses lots less electricity than the older, smaller one.
    Jennifer–Ugh–I hate it when I run across the plastic container that accidentally got shoved to the rear of the fridge 6 months ago. I usually just toss the whole thing without opening it.
    Ellie–You reminded me that I have dry mustard in the spice cabinet! I love Coleman’s too. It’ll grow hair on your chest for sure.
    DF–Speaking of sticky lids, I didn’t even count the pots of jam and jelly.
    HeadBang–Why does the soup that looks so enticing in the store taste so wretched when you get it home?
    PG–We finally learned that there’s just no point in buying large quantities for the two of us. Husband has a stash in the basement of things like canned salmon, sardines and black beans.
    Mon–I really need to clean out my spices. Too often I buy something like Chinese 5 Spice Powder and use it once. I’m sure there’s some duplicates in there as well.
    Michelle–Why is it that the good stuff like steak and French cheese can’t do that?

  15. A definite “yes” to the capers thing. I rarely use them, and I can’t even remember buying two jars. Why are they both open and living in my refrigerator?

  16. Kira–Isn’t it funny? Who knew capers were a universal problem. Did you make it to the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma? Sounds like you had a great trip.

  17. I looked in my fridge. I’ve got two jars of capers in there, plus a vast array of “spreads.” There’s this Ukrainian deli about a block away, and I’m always getting goddamn spreads. Zucchini spread, red pepper spread, garlic spread, eggplant spread.

    And I collect giardiniera.

    And I’m jealous of your mustard. My collection doesn’t cut it.


  18. Oh, this made me laugh. All sorts of things have taken root in my fridge, but condiments are definitely the bulk of it. But it was the several years old French mustard that got to me. I still have never-used bath products from France, corked in pretty glass bottles, stored in my linen closet… for over 17 years. Brought them back from France after my honeymoon. The paper labels have weathered brown and are crumbling, but I refuse to toss them out. What we hold on to.

  19. Rass–For real, you have two bottles of capers? Also, I had to Google giardiniera–not something I’m familiar with, but it sounds delish, as do all the spreads you describe.
    Jayne–Who knew that a post about mustard would strike such a chord. Just proves how similar we all are beneath the surface. Thanks for visiting Franklin and I hope you’ll come again. And congrats on your great review. Feels good, doesn’t it?

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