It’s Time to Buy Your Favorite Condiments
Crises of any kind tend to lead people towards a utilitarian, no-nonsense mindset. It’s okay for hand sanitizer and other less attractive essentials, but I don’t take it for food. We can all eat beans for the next few weeks, but there is no reason why they should be soft.
Now – and I mean right now – is the time to buy the finest spices, the most expensive pickles, and every umami bomb you want. It’s time to invest in a bagel seasoning shaker, flake salt boxes, and MSG bags. It’s boring to sit inside. It’s boring to eat the same thing every day. Sauces, condiments, and pickled foods can help ease that boredom a bit, and they last almost forever (or at least for a few months).
What’s on my shopping list? I’m so glad you asked (because I love talking about myself). I already have a lot of Maldon, MSG, Fish Sauce, and Better Than Bouillon, so I’ll focus on sour, fermented and spicy. Chip chili, gherkins, Louisiana hot sauce, soy sauce, citric acid (sour monosodium glutamate) and lots of lemons are my priorities, but I’m also going to eat some duck fat because duck- fried beans are what I can. eat for several days in a row.
You can not only buy Cadillac condiments, but you can also make them. Pickled corn , aquavit onions and fermented honey garlic are already in my fridge and (in the case of honey) on my counter, and I’m going to make shio koji in case I need something to spice up a frozen pork chop .
And while it’s not technically a seasoning, I recommend grabbing a lot of small canned fish . Anchovies can be melted in butter or oil for a strong flavoring of pasta sauces; sardines make a great toast; and oil from any superior quality canned fish is an excellent medium for frying.
When planning for weeks of near-total isolation, it’s easy to focus on the “essentials,” but that doesn’t mean that pleasure and fun should fade out of the window. Simple, monotonous menus will support your body, but may have adverse effects on your soul. Paying some attention to detail – salt, sauces, seasonings – will prevent at least one part of you from getting bored. This is important because being bored sucks.