The other day, I was sifting through photos of a bike tour I did a few summers back and came across this image of lunch. You might be surprised to find that the majority of the toppings all came from convieniently packaged condiments. I traveled for 3-1/2 months on a shoe-string budget and condiments pilfered from rural general stores became a primary source of sustenance for me. It might sound horrible, but honestly it wasn't bad, especially when you factor in that these frugal meals were often consumed with views like this....
Not all condiments are as delicioius as the others, however, so without further adieu, here is my power rankings of packaged condiments.
One: SALSA - The chunky kind. I always carried a bottle of Tapatio with me, of course, but every now and then I'd walk into a store that offered chunky salsa and I'd fill with joy. Spice adds flavor (or masks, for that matter) which is essential to living on a bike. Toss in diced tomato, pepper and onion and you have a good ol' fashioned fiesta.
Two: HONEY - It's sweet, which is it's first and most important merit. It also goes well on most fruits giving me a sense of a nutrional diet.
Three: DICED ONION - It's already cut, so I don't have to worry about crying in front of my girlfriend. Plus the simple addition of onion can make boring or packaged meals feel home-cooked.
Four: RELISH - I'm not much of a pickle fan, but it's got sustenance, a very important attribute if you haven't noticed. Basically, anything you can chew is a hot commodity.
Five: MUSTARD - I like mustard, and if dijon, spicy brown or honey mustard were as widely available or yellow, it might be higher on the list. It pairs well with most of the sustenance-based condiments listed above, so it's a great teammate, but stand-alone it's not a superstar.
Six: MAPLE SYRUP - My eight-year-old self would put this at the top. I used to suck syrup straight from the packet in elementary school and I'm still not tired of the stuff, so that must say something.
Seven: KETCHUP - It's got to be on the list, because it forged the trail for the rest of the condiments. If it weren't for ketchup, would this list exist?