Hold the Condiments, Please

The WordPress Daily Prompt from yesterday had a question that piqued my interest:

Are you a picky eater? Share some of your favorite food quirks with us (the more exotic, the better!).


I hate condiments. Specifically the wet ones: mustard, ketchup, relish, steak sauce, salad dressing, sour cream (when used as a condiment), sandwich spread, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, chili sauce, and especially mayonnaise. The only ones I like are oil & vinegar and barbecue sauce. I’m okay with vinaigrette as a salad dressing, and with ingredients that are cooked into Chinese food. Everything else? Just yuk.

I can already hear the questions….

  • Mayonnaise is just eggs, oil, and vinegar. You say you like oil & vinegar, and I would guess you like eggs. Why don’t you like mayonnaise?
  • Ketchup is basically just tomatoes and vinegar. You like tomatoes, don’t you? So why not ketchup?
  • Barbecue sauce is basically ketchup. How can you like one and not the other?
  • How can you eat chicken fingers without honey mustard? A hamburger without mayonnaise? Cole slaw? Deli sandwiches without mayo and mustard? etc.

All right, let’s go down the list.

  • Yes, I like eggs. Cooked eggs. Mayonnaise is raw egg yolks, oil, and vinegar. It goes bad in heat and/or sunlight, such as at a picnic, and wreaks havoc on the gastrointestinal system. And we all know what that means.
  • Ketchup is more than just tomatoes and vinegar. I like sliced tomatoes with oil and vinegar on them. If ketchup tasted like that, I’d be fine with it. But it doesn’t.
  • Barbecue sauce is made differently. Plus, it’s cooked onto the ribs.
  • I simply ask that the condiments be left off the food, and don’t add them. Believe me, I don’t go hungry.

It’s easier to order food at fast-food places without the condiments now than it was in the past. Burger King started this back in the Seventies.

Wendy’s turned it into an exercise in combinatorics a few years ago, announcing that there were 256 different ways to get your burger. They have eight toppings, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and my favorite, bacon, and you can choose any combination of them, including none of them. They had this campaign in the Eighties.

Eventually, McDonald’s had to follow suit. A good thing, too. Before then, if you ordered a hamburger without mustard, ketchup, and/or pickles, the kid behind the counter would roll his eyes and sigh dramatically, because you had just forced him to fill out a special request form and submit it to the guys in the kitchen. The kid then told you he would call when your order was ready. You’d wait and wait while all of your lunch partners ate, then they’d call and hand you a bag. You’d get it back to your table, where you’d discover that your burger had been given to someone else, and you got a burger with ketchup, mustard, and pickle anyway.

I don’t have trouble with the fast-food places anymore. Regular sit-down restaurants, on the other hand, will neglect to indicate on the menu that one or more condiments will be added to your food. Order something “plain,” and the server will tell you that’s how it comes, only when your food arrives, it’s not. Since, at many restaurants, your server will drop your food on the table and vanish without asking if everything’s all right, you have to wait until someone who can do something about it stops by your table. That could be half an hour or more.

It might seem like I’m just being fussy, but I don’t like condiments being slapped on my food without having the opportunity to say no.

I’ll bet one or more of you has this problem…

11 thoughts on “Hold the Condiments, Please

  1. I utterly despise each and every single condiment. Vinegar is an absolutely detestable ingredient if overused and condiments overuse the hell out of vinegar. It smells like a sweaty obese person that’s been baking in the hot Florida sun for 3 hours and I imagine they taste similar too. I dunno, I’ve tried every condiment but I won’t be licking a sweat obese person!

    The only conclusion I can come to is that peoples tastes buds are 90% inactive and so they can’t taste anything unless it’s smothered in the filth.

    I learned to cook because I despise condiments. Why use such cheap garbage to flavor your food? There are so many exquisite spices, seasoning, and vegetables that are SO good at flavoring your meats without any vile vinegar required. I mean really. If you wanna drown out the flavor of your food, why not douse it in a cilantro based sauce? At least cilantro tastes good.


    1. Vinegar is good as a salad dressing, and it’s amazing on windows and a lot of cleanup jobs, but both mustard and ketchup are loaded with it and I don’t care for either. I can’t understand why fast food place insist on slathering everything with them, and mayonnaise is just disgusting. If the food’s that bad, why eat it?


  2. I hate all condiments, but a fellow picky eater got me to try steak sauce and I do like that now. I can only use lemon juice on salad. My coworkers threw me a baby shower and the only food I could eat was potato chips. Everything else was some sort of pasta salad or chicken salad sanwiches, which all have mayo. I wanted to cry.


    1. I always used to dread the “We’re having lunch brought in” meetings, because invariably the sandwiches had mayonnaise on them. I finally wised up and either made lunch at home or got something before the meeting started.


  3. I hate ALL condiments. There was a doc somewhere sometime ago that noticed the common denominator and speculated that I might have some kind of allergy to vinegar, because all the stuff I hate and can’t eat has that in common. They’re all made with vinegar. Ugh, bleccch. Just a tiny taste of it is enough to make me gag and my throat start to close up. I’m 65 years old and been this way all my life. But boy, the strange looks and rolled eyes I get still when I refuse that barbecue sauce or salad dressing or vinaigrette or mustard special sauce or whatever. There’ve been times at banquets I could eat virtually nothing because the meat was covered in bbq sauce, the salad already dressed and the other vegetables coated in some other kind of noxious sauce. Just give me my food plain, PLEASE.


  4. Sorry I’m just now getting to this, but I’m way behind on reading posts. I like ketchup on my fries, but not on my burger. I usually love condiments as a rule.

    My food quirks? I love ketchup and tomato sauce but hate tomatoes. When I eat eggs or ground beef I have to have bread, and the bread has to be in my mouth at the same time. But I can eat steak, and I don’t have to have bread. I don’t have to have bread with chicken or fish. Pretty much just eggs and ground beef.


  5. Yup I’ve got that problem. Only meat and cheese on my burger please. And the only north american sauce I like is tomato sauce in perfect balance with the pasta.
    I am a queen at going to fast food joints and saying, “nothing on the burger but the meat and the bun”. As for sit down restaurants, “no garnishes please, and no garnishes on the plate either”. If I’m not going to a familiar drive, thru I’ll check the burger before I pull out. I’ve gotten home too many times only to then realize they’ve given me a burger loaded with wet junk. Yuk!


    1. I’ve found you even have to check the burgers that you get from drive-thru restaurants that you do know. Burger King used to have the Bacon Double Cheeseburger, and for the longest time I knew that it came with no additives. Still, I used to tell the guy “no mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.” One day I got one, brought it home, and it was covered with the stuff. I took it back and read them the riot act about it, and the young lady in the back tried to tell me that was the way they had always been made. They replaced the burger and gave me my money back, but it was a long time before I went back to that BK.


  6. Nope, don’t have that problem. But my eldest son…
    I once ordered him a cheese burger with nothing on it at the drive-thru at McDonald’s. Got home to find they’d given us a cheese sandwich – they didn’t put the burger on it.


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