This week let’s Take Stock of our supply of Condiments.

A condiment is a supplemental food, such as a sauce or powder that is added to some foods to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor, or, to complement the dish, but that cannot stand alone as a dish.

Different countries and cultures use different condiments, but the ones frequently found in the American refrigerator include:

Steak sauce

Worcestershire sauce

Barbecue sauce




Pickles and pickle relish


Tartar and cocktail sauces

Horseradish and/or wasabi

Salad dressings

Soy sauce and other sauces used in Asian-inspired dishes

Tabasco, taco, and other hot sauces


1) Condiments tend to be kind of pricey. What else would you buy that you need to pay nearly what a whole meal would cost – well, at least a home-cooked meal? Keeping extra condiments would mean you are able to buy them when they are on sale, or at least at a time more able to spend your grocery budget that way.

2) While it wouldn’t be the end of your world if you ran out of one of these items, they sure make your food more enjoyable. Having a backup on hand ensures you can always “have it your way” as Burger King used to advertise.

3) Studies have shown that, during difficult times, keeping your food familiar really does make things easier.

The amount you keep of each condiment will vary with each household. For my household, I’ve learned to keep two or three of the condiments we use frequently on the shelf. Otherwise, I keep only one spare on the shelf.


Another reason to Take Stock of our condiments is that we tend to keep opened containers of condiments in the refrigerator longer than we should. I was told I should discard open condiments after a year. A recent Google search gave such varying results that I think I’ll just stick with that as a rule of thumb.

The problem of course is, we open various bottles and jars throughout the year so when do you clear them out? I certainly don’t advocate emptying your refrigerator door every January – that would be expensive and wasteful.

At the same time, does anyone enjoy the anxiety of looking at a jar that smells okay while wondering if the color looks right or if the crusties in the lid mean you could use it or should throw it away?

To resolve that particular source of angst I started writing the “opened” date on the jar(s). Doing that means I don’t have to count on my memory to recall that I opened that seldom-used tartar sauce last March when I bought some shrimp on sale at the grocery store.

My mom left behind containers of spices that I remembered from my childhood. Don’t let your refrigerator door become a graveyard of old condiments.

Now’s a good time to Take Stock of your Condiments
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