Tag Archives: mustard

In Praise of Condiments

Via e-mail yesterday at 2:05 p.m.

Subject line: In praise of condiments
J writes:

I rise to praise condiments, not because of what they bring to sandwiches already in existence but for what they bring to the table on their own. Where would fries be without ketchup? Hot dogs without mustard? Hamburgers, without, well whatever it is you want to put on them, and chicken fingers…

… would simply cease to exist were it not for honey mustard, bar-b-q sauce, ranch dressing and whatever other deliciousness can be created in a semi-liquid state. I often wonder about the fate of chicken fingers once it becomes socially acceptable to eat honey mustard by the spoon.

Chicken fingers are a weird anomaly anyway. As any serious cook will tell you, chicken is almost impossible to get right. You have about a three second window between salmonella inducing raw and chewy. Since chicken fingers are cooked in mass quantities, they tend toward the chewy, which is fine because the breading covers over a multitude of sins and the real purpose of a chicken finger is to dip it in sauce anyway.

Ah the sauce…

Back when I was 15 and living on nothing except the good grace of my parents, I was out for a walk with a friend and we were extremely hungry.  Being 15 we had no money, so we went into McDonalds and asked for bar-b-q sauce. Well actually, we first asked for packets of salad dressing, but when informed that those cost “extra,” we asked for bar-b-q sauce. We each got a packet and ate the sauce as we continued our walk. It was satisfying enough to last us until lunch.

Apparently with a 21 percent unemployment rate among teenagers, more young men have tried this because now McDonalds charges 10 cents for each extra bar-b-q sauce packets. They’ll give you a set amount for each order (which in my experience is only enough if you don’t double-dip), but beyond that you got to spare a dime.

This is almost never enforced, especially if you go through the drive thru and ask the kid who gives you your food, rather than the one who takes your money, for an extra sauce packet.

My guess is that McDonalds started charging because too many teenage men were coming in and eating straight bar-b-q sauce because they had no money.

In my world, we call those folks true pioneers.