Before I launch into this list let’s clear the pathway to ensure a smooth ride by defining the word “condiment”. The dictionary will tell you it’s an umbrella term that includes everyday sprinkling items like Sally Salt and Peter Pepper. The dictionary is wrong. Those people aren’t condiments, nor is Branston Pickle, nor tomato Salsa. They’re essentials, they’re spreads, one of them is a dip. So let’s break this shit down. A condiment is something you’d: a. have a hearty blob of on the side of your plate; b. something you’d liberally coat your dinner in to disguise how horrible it is; or c. it’s a sauce that accurately defines you as a man or a woman. Or both. With that all completely cleared up here are my ten favourites in order of amazingness:
1. Heinz Tomato Ketchup
It’s impossible to describe the taste of ketchup, it’s like asking an artist to explain the colour red to you. They’d look all confident for a second, with their neck scarf and their hemp trousers, but then the confusion would set in. Fear would fill their eyes like water into a jar from a hosepipe. It’s… well you know… it’s just red isn’t it? It’s not blue. It’s RED. That’s how I am with this. It’s just ketchup. Heinz Tomato fucking Ketchup. It goes with absolutely everything, even entirely unnecessary swearing.
2. Tuong Ot Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce
I use an advanced gauge to assess a chilli sauce. And by advanced gauge I mean I use my taste buds which are specific to me. On the one end of the spectrum you get the weak chilli sauce that barely computes, at the other you get me attempting to casually style out the fact that I’ve just bitten into a chicken wing and now my nose running. I’m all over the shop! This stuff with the unpronounceable name sits somewhere between the two, and is the best I’ve ever tasted. Hands down.
3. Reggae Reggae Sauce
When Levi Roots stood in front of the trillionaires on Dragons’ Den strumming wildly on his ukelele while Peter Jones punched the air and Theo Paphitis quacked excitedly and splashed around in a paddling pool, so began a ripple effect that ended with this Reggae Reggae sauce becoming a mainstay in my fridge. It keeps HP off the list entirely.
4. Colman’s English Mustard
Close your eyes and imagine what a group of tough guys get up to behind closed doors. Stats suggest that you’ve either just pictured a load of dudes literally freaking each other, or you envisaged maniacs in vests goading one another into eating teaspoons of hot yellow mustard like a scene from West Side Story but set in a prison. As it happens neither of those answers are correct, because when tough guys are alone and behind closed doors, they cry. They’re just like you and me. They have feelings. Hey, but isn’t Colman’s English Mustard amazing!
5. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
Say what you like about those hot French chicks, but when it comes to plunging their fries into something unctuous and cooling, they veer from the ketch and go straight to the may. When I first witnessed this I was absolutely enraged, almost paralysed with fear and anger – I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY OWN EYES! – but then I tried it out, and realised, actually, it’s really really nice.
6. Encona Hot Pepper Sauce
The second hot sauce on the list, in condiment terms this is the drug you take after you’ve finally tired of the gateway drug and you need something harder. Something to take your tongue on a wild technicolour ride through most of the senses, but mainly focusing on TASTE. And possibly FEEL a little bit. What are the other senses anyway? You’ve got SEEING and HEARING. SMILING? Is SMILING a sense? Seriously though (stops smiling, removes squirty flower) this is only to be consumed in thimble portions.
7. Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce
Guys if you really want to impress a girl, there are two things you can do. The first is to march up to her, stutter something weird about putting babies in corners, then force her to dance with you. Another is to present her with a gift wrapped bottle of Sweet Chilli Sauce. Great looking babes absolutely love this stuff, and no surprise – it’s lush! Go on, pop some on your stir fry.
8. Tabasco Sauce
Of all the sauces listed, this is by far the thinnest in texture, so much so that’s it’s almost a drink. But only a fool would drink this, a real fool. Or possibly someone from out of town who’s trying to fit in, but has just made a dreadful judgement call. Whatever way, spattered carefully on cheese on toast, or even added to your Heinz Baked Beans, this is great.
9. Heinz Salad Cream
This is basically a Fisher Price condiment for kids. You don’t get many adults calling over the waiting staff in posh restaurants to ask for a small ramekin of salad cream. It’s considered babyish, like drinking Bacardi Breezers or getting people to smell the nature when you’re over 20. Yet, when no one’s looking, I can put away a bottle of this stuff in practically no time. Ideally I’d smear handfuls onto a chicken sandwich.
10. Sainsburys Creamy Horseradish Sauce
It was a tricky decision coming up with the final spot on the list, because there are so many other condiments I enjoy. I like barbecue sauce, especially the one that you can dunk morsels of finest free range chicken into in McDonalds. I like other kinds of mustard, like the one with the little grainy guys in it, and the one that’s sort of beige. But in the end I remembered horseradish and went FUCK! HORSERADISH! And that pretty much sewed things up.