YK’s 365 Release: Day 57

I don’t use condiments (e.g. ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, etc.). I trace this back to my childhood to an exact incident involving hotdogs. One summer day my family was having burgers and hotdogs out on our patio. In my greed of metabolic consumption, I placed my hotdog on my paper plate and doused it in ketchup and mustard. I think that was one of the first times I rationed my own portions of condiments. My hotdog was literally now volumetrically less than the amount of ketchup and mustard I poured onto it.

Upon seeing this, my mother narrowed her eyes and saw another opportunity for a life lesson (see Day 15). She said I had to eat the entire hotdog and the copious amounts of condiment sauce I had dumped on top of it. I think I sat there until my paper plate grew soggy with ketchup and mustard. Since that moment, I don’t use condiments on anything at all.

I have also learned that condiments are usually excessive in the first place. Many people I know pour salt on their food before they even taste it. When my parents visit the States they always say the food is extra salty here. We live in a culture of excessive consumption, unnecessarily seasoned and exaggerated masks of true taste.

Rice, for example, is one of my favorite smells. It smells like home. It has a distinct taste that cannot be replaced by pasta or potatoes. Some may call it bland, but to me, it has complex and rich layers of taste are unique and fill my mouth with ample flavor.

I would have to qualify this philosophy of no condiments to be limited to U.S. condiments. When I travel or eat different foods (particularly Asian) I recognize condiments are prepared and distributed differently in different foods abroad. I love Asian and South Asian condiments because they are distinctly flavored (spices, pickles, herbs) and are used as side dishes almost, rather than condiments.

While shopping to prepare an elaborate Indian meal, I picked up a wonderful Masala Dabba, which is a gorgeous container to serve and store spices. I purchased it because it is an ingenious presentation solution to multiple dishes, particularly while learning new cuisines that I love. However, this particular implement is not being used to its full capacity because I never bother to purchase spices unless I use them in preparation for food, and when I entertain, I serve such large amounts that the small bowls used in this container do not suffice, so I am releasing it to another chef on this Day 57 of my 365 Release. May it be used to bring delicious taste to everyone in its presence.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

One response to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 57”

  1. […] Day 57 (11/3/10): masala dabba [forgetfulness] […]

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