Condiments are what we as humans have been using for thousands of years to add to the pleasures of eating. Our national obsession with catsup and mustard expresses America’s way of using condiments to make our collective food-eating experience a good one. In simplistic terms, catsup brings sweetness when added, while mustard brings sourness.
Salt and pepper is another duo that is a big part of our food-making. Besides salts and spices, there are prepared seasonings – dried rubs that mix salt and spices, as well as pastes and sauce combinations like salsas, curries, chutneys, simmer sauces, BBQ sauces, Worcester sauces, dipping sauces.
Condiments were first used as a means for food preservation. Salt preserved foods, as did the ferments, or pickling that naturally would happen to certain foods. Salts and certain spices were added to dishes not only for their flavoring but as a way to extend the life of their foods.
It did not take long for our ancestors to discover that many of these spices made them healthier – by helping to ward away sickness, tiredness and pain even as while making their food taste better. Check out our Organic Spice Collection where you’ll find the finest spices in very attractive containers that will inspire you to create healthier meals!
Condiments – Food Principles in a Tasty Balance
4 Element Thinking sees everything as “a set of principles in balance”. Our awareness of food principles in balance begins on the tongue level with our 4-5 types of taste receptors – sweet, salty, sour, and bitter and umami (or savory). But it doesn’t stop there.
Always keep in mind that Nature did not stop with just a set of four elemental principles. Nature is filled with life-positive principles – thousands of them –which we can draw upon as we create our meals. The taste of a spice, a food, a meal is a reflection of the way those principles are balanced within it.
In 4 Element Thinking, it is in the biochemistry of an herb (or spice) that these principles are given their footings in our physical here-and-now world. In other words, what creates the taste and health-energetics of a particular spice’s principle is its biochemistry – how it might strengthen or reinforce parts of our body’s whole.
Organic Spices + Salts= Rubs
Along with our individual spices, consider our “Organic Rubs”. These are our own mixtures of particular spices and salts that you can both rub into meats and vegetables – or even just sprinkle onto your cooking skillet for delicious seasoning. These rubs can also be thought of as seasoning salt – only more adventurous and health-positive.
Keep in mind that if you are not one who eats a lot of prepared, packaged foods, you can probably add as much salt to your meals as you enjoy. Salt is not dangerous to the vast majority of people when used in this way. Our special Salt Collection is a great way to tap into Nature’s Salt Principle’s flavors. For now know that salts serve as an Earth element foundation for other tastes-biochemistries-principles to engage your tongue and body-whole.
After dried spices and the spice-salt combo of a rub, there are humankind’s condiment pastes and sauces. Slowly, such condiments became part of a culture’s cuisine; different regions would make variations on that condiment theme – like the barbecue sauces of the south have slightly different ingredients, or balances of those ingredients, depending on where it’s being made. Similarly for Worcestershire sauces or hot sauces – it is the specific balance of these ingredients – sometimes with a few unique ones thrown it – that creates the gastronomic dynamics of a particular one such as Lea & Perrins steak sauce or Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Curries, Chutneys and Harissa – Oh my!
There are the curry pastes – made from combining spices such as cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, ginger and black pepper. These pastes are added to the skillet of cooking vegetables. Different versions of chutneys, chili sauces, curries and fish sauces express different balances of natural principles and tastes.
Take a look at our selection of condiments. Some of them may not be familiar to you – like our jars of ajvar and harissa. Besides a variety of traditional ethnic condiments, one of the great things about today’s cuisine is that many creative people have come up with new balances of spices and their tastes.
With all this said, it’s a great idea to have several jars of condiments in your refrigerator to inspire you to cook. Don’t let that kale spoil; find a way to use those parsnips, peppers or okra that you have in your fridge, make a dish extraordinaire with those beans – all as you add some tasty condiments to their cooking pots.
In summary, the herbs and spices that make up most condiments are healthy to have as part of your diet. Not only do they work together to create a tasty meal, condiments also bring a set of natural principles into your body that can be used to help it stay strong and vibrant.