On the way back from a dizzying workout at the gym, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items before a late dinner at home. I always check out the samples at good ol’Trader Joe’s and I liked the one yesterday so much that I added it to my assorted armful and headed to the check out line. The sample was meatballs with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce. I’m far from a connoisseur of BBQ sauces and if it came down to it, I would be inclined to pick the same BBQ sauce every time I finished a bottle and needed a new one. I recreated the sample at home quickly and had enough in me to quell the great waves of exercise-induced hunger that had swallowed me up.
The following afternoon, I boiled a nitrite/nitrate free all-natural hot dog and as I sat down to eat, I pulled out the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce and put the standard ketchup back in the fridge. I have an unstoppable tendency to give new flavors and combinations a try, even though I think I secretly would rather keep to the tried and true favorites (such as ketchup and mustard) to dress up my hot dog. After I had taken a few bites, it occurred to me: I like jarred and bottled sauce meal accompaniments so much that I would have the same sauce on two different meals in a row whereas I would not enjoy the same meal as leftovers twice in a row, irrespective of sauce. Sauces, I say, are the real stars of a meal apart from freshest ingredients (no matter how wonderful the sauce, it can’t make a rotten fish taste good, you know). I then thought back to my previous post, and saw a commonality between the way I like my food and the way I like to dress.
My philosophy on dressing (accessories): I will pick out outfits based on the pieces of jewelry or scarf that I want to wear that day – these are the “wow!” pieces that go with even the seemingly most basic of clothes, which, as you know from my last post, are my tried-and-true favorites. They are the first element that I pick.
My philosophy on the other dressing (culinary): I am loyal to a favorite sauce when I find one, and they become charmers that dazzle any simple dish.
A great deal of satisfaction comes from the right accoutrements – the pair of pearls that give a effortless sophistication, the splash of color a scarf gives a neutral palette outfit – just as a flavorful sauce can carry superb flavor as a prime “accessory to the meal.” Whether a sauce or a scarf, so long as I know they are fun and in good taste, they won’t let me down.
- *TJ’s Garlic Aioli Mustard
- *TJ’s Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
- D.L. Jardine’s Texas Kicker Hot Sauce
- Cape Cod (Or Honeycup) Sweet and Spicy Mustard
- Premiere Moisonne Strawberry Rhubarb Jam- Canadian bakery
- St. Dalfour Black Forest Preserves
- Maple Butter – spreadable, and found in Canada
- *TJ’s Fire Roasted Salsa
- *TJ’s Arrabiata Pasta Sauce (not pictured)
Spices are a whole other realm. Some favorites I throw in savory dishes are:
- Tony’s Creole Spice
- herbes de provence
- white pepper
- italian seasoning
- raz el hanout
I also enjoy mixing sauces I make myself (out of basic ingredients that can include any singular base or combination of BBQ, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, or broth) and spices. It’s great fun!