Monday, February 04, 2008
The All Condiment Team
Sometimes in life you get presented with a unique situation and little that can be done about it. In those times, we tend to regress to a primal level, putting things like survival first. Through human evolution that has translated to simply cutting back on the frills. To go without. But what about those times when the object at hand is a extravagance to begin with? What then? This weekend I encountered such a situation amongst a couple of friends and it got me thinking...
I was watching sports. Football I think. Hot dogs were made (they are, after all, the food of the gods), and we were doling out the condiments we had left amongst the people in the room. Perhaps I should backtrack a bit and explain the gravity of what was just said. I'm pretty poor. Oh I get by, but most of the time luxuries aren't things I enjoy. Condiments just happen fall under that category in my mind. I had been known in my poorest days to buy 2 eight-packs of Oscar-Meyer wieners for 4 bucks (yeah Ralph's) and eat them- forgoing any condiments (or buns). This was also around the same time that my roommate dubbed me 'hot dogs,' though I still can't piece together why. Anyway, it goes without saying that to this day most of the condiments I keep in the house are in packet form probably left over from some Dodger game or Taco Bell experience.
We've got quite a collection going today, though it's scant in variety. Suffice it to say, when hot dog time rolls around, those little packets are a hot commodity, which lead us to create the first ever condiment draft.
There were a few easy picks of course. I'm not gonna just throw Taco Bell Fire sauce on a hot dog and call it a day. But then, doesn't it always seem like these restaurants design packets that are only compatible with their foods? That always leaves me unsettled. But in that moment, it vastly limited my range of selection. Del Scorcho sauce? No. Damn it. Think. There was a bevvy of ketchup, that I knew. There always is. I could let that wait. It was all irrelevant though, as I had the third choice in the draft anyway(I had traded my first round pick a week earlier in a toppings draft at the local Ben and Jerry's). By the time they got to me (and we got through the tedious acceptance speeches by the condiments), I had only two options left: mustard and mayo.
Philip Mustard kicks it in cricket
Now, I'm not a mustard eater. Never have been, never will be. Unless it's that delicious seedy mustard you find on swanky sandwiches, but as you can imagine I don't come across much of that (you remember...condiments, luxury, etc. good, we're back). But yellow mustard I simply won't touch. It all stems from an event in my childhood of which I can't remember. All I know is that there was a mustard covered hot dog involved, I had to eat it, it was the worst birthday ever for my friend Glenn, and now I don't eat mustard. Plus, I watched so much Sesame Street and Electric Company growing up. They used to take tours of places, such as a mustard factory, and that always grossed me out. All those gallons of mustard...if there's a hell, mine would surely be there.
So mayonnaise it was. Ultimately I decided to red-shirt the mayonnaise for the upcoming sandwich draft, but at least I didn't get stuck with lady mustard. By the time the draft got back to me again, it was nothing but relish and ketchup. I knew my neighbor had a jar of pickles I could secure, so relish could be kicked to the curb. Better luck next year kid. And yes, I'm aware that pickles and relish aren't the same thing, but it's close enough. What I really wanted was banana peppers, and there weren't any in sight. Apparently Steak 'N Shake has a strangle-hold on the market. Along with De Beers, they price fix the market with the best of 'em. Go figure, right? In the moment though, I knew what I faced. Ketchup and only ketchup. Another boring hot dog.
But that was fine with me. That's all I really eat on hot dogs anyway, I just wanted to be sure I scouted ahead for the sandwich draft. I had learned too many lessons the week before to let a condiment draft pass me by and not get on the horse. Speaking of- did you know there was a Preakness winner named Tabasco Cat? Me neither. Turns out, he's not made of spicy seasoning at all, he's all horse. Here he is, balling out with some humans:
Yeah, see? He isn't a spicy condiment at all, he's a horse. Dismal our world is when you ask for tabasco and get a thuroughbred.