Condiment

Salt, pepper, and sugar are commonly placed on Western restaurant tables.

A condiment is a spice, sauce, or preparation that is added to food, typically after cooking, to impart a specific flavor, to enhance the flavor,[1] or to complement the dish. A table condiment or table sauce is more specifically a condiment that is served separately from the food and is added to taste by the diner.

Condiments are sometimes added prior to serving, for example, in a sandwich made with ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Some condiments are used during cooking to add flavor or texture: barbecue sauce, compound butter, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and marmite and sour cream are examples.

Many condiments, such as mustard or ketchup, are available in single-serving packets, commonly when supplied with take-out or fast-food meals.

Definition[edit]

Tray of condiments and spices
Various condiments at Sangha market, Mali 1992

The exact definition of a condiment varies. Some definitions encompass spices and herbs, including salt and pepper,[2] using the term interchangeably with seasoning.[3] Others restrict the definition to include only "prepared food compound[s], containing one or more spices", which are added to food after the cooking process, such as mustard, ketchup or mint sauce.[3] Cheese is also considered a condiment in some European countries.[citation needed]

Etymology[edit]

The term condiment comes from the Latin condimentum, meaning "spice, seasoning, sauce" and from the Latin condire, meaning "preserve, pickle, season".[4] The term originally described pickled or preserved foods, but its meaning has changed over time.[5]

History[edit]

Condiments were known in Ancient Rome, Ancient India, Ancient Greece and Ancient China. There is a myth that before food preservation techniques were widespread, pungent spices and condiments were used to make the food more palatable,[6] but this claim is not supported by any evidence or historical record.[7] The Romans made the condiments garum and liquamen by crushing the innards of various fish and then ferment it in salt, resulting in a liquid containing glutamic acid, suitable for enhancing the flavor of food. This process would lead to a flourishing condiment industry.[4] Apicius, a cookbook based on fourth and fifth century cuisine, contains a section based solely on condiments.[4]

List of condiments[edit]

Condiment market in the United States[edit]

In the United States, the market for condiments was US$5.6 billion in 2010 and is estimated to grow to US$7 billion by 2015.[8] The condiment market is the second largest in specialty foods behind that of cheese.[8]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster: Definition of condiment
  2. ^ Collins: Definition Condiment
  3. ^ a b Farrell, p. 291
  4. ^ a b c Nealon
  5. ^ Smith, pp. 144–146
  6. ^ Farrell, p. 297
  7. ^ According to Paul Freedman, the idea is presented as a fact even by some modern scholars, despite the lack of any credible support; Freedman (2008), pp. 3–4
  8. ^ a b Sax, David (October 7, 2010). "Spreading the Love". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 9 October 2010.

Sources[edit]