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Barry Lewis

Condiments are the key

Barry Lewis
Posted 5/26/23

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll celebrate the unofficial start of summer by grilling tonight.

But before you light another charcoal briquette or push the igniter, let me offer …

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Barry Lewis

Condiments are the key


If you’re like most Americans, you’ll celebrate the unofficial start of summer by grilling tonight.

But before you light another charcoal briquette or push the igniter, let me offer a warning: It’s not about what you put on that grill, it’s what you put on the meal after you take it off the grill.

One word: Condiments.

For some of you, ketchup, mustard, mayo – whatever’s handy – will do the trick. Sweet or spicy, brown or Dijon – doesn’t matter.

Oh, but it does.

The condiment you choose says a lot about who you are.

A survey by The Association for Dressings and Sauces (more interesting than the survey results is that there’s an association for dressings and sauces) found that salsa and ketchup are tied for the favorite condiment with mayonnaise close behind. Mustard was the second favorite choice in case you were betting.

The national survey also asked about the most popular uses for mayonnaise or whipped dressing. The top vote getter: 90 percent said they spread it on a sandwich, followed by 73 percent using mayonnaise as an ingredient in cold salads and 44 percent use it in dips for vegetables.

Here’s what else the survey found:

• Mustard is the condiment that truly ties everyone together. There are few differences in mustard liking among geographic or gender lines. Mustard users are generally in the 35 to 64 age group. They consider themselves ambitious, self-disciplined and family-oriented. Mustard lovers also rate themselves as more shy than any other condiment-favoring group.

• Mayonnaise has more appeal for women and Millennials or Generation Y folks (those born between 1980 and 2000). Half of those who named mayonnaise as their favorite condiment are introverted and are less likely to be competitive, athletic or risk-takers, while the other half rated themselves as the most ambitious of all condiment devotees. Mayo buffs are equally split between being social butterflies and leisure-lovers.

• Men tend to use barbecue sauce more than women. It’s less popular in the Northeast and a large percentage of the 18 to 24 age group says they “love” the stuff. Barbecue sauce users are more extroverted than other condiment lovers and describe themselves as more creative, competitive, athletic and witty than any of the other condiment users.

• People who prefer horseradish are mostly men 55 and older living in the Northeast and Midwest. Horseradish lovers are the most family-oriented and also consider themselves more creative than the other condiment connoisseurs. Horseradish epicures are most likely to be extroverted and prefer social activities.

• Salad dressings are very popular with women, especially those 18 to 24 living in the Northeast. Most salad dressing connoisseurs keep three bottles on hand. They are more reserved and self-disciplined and compared to other sauce lovers, more likely to pursue creative endeavors such as crafts or photography.

• Hot sauce gourmets are men 18 to 34 living in the South or West. They’re likely to have three bottles of it on hand and are a competitive risk-taker. Nearly half of the hot sauce lovers prefer hanging out with friends or family and rated themselves as more happy, ambitious, spontaneous and risk-loving than other condiment users.

• Salsa’s strength is in the West and users are more likely to be extroverts who turn toward social activities in their spare time. If it’s true that you are what you eat, then salsa lovers have that hot and spicy “kick” that motivates them like no other!

Given all this information, here’s some fair warning. If your partner asks for salsa and hot sauce, expect fireworks tonight. If they reach for the mustard, turn in early.

Barry Lewis is a longtime journalist and author who lives with his wife Bonnie in the Town of Neversink. He can be reached at      barrylewisscdemocrat@gmail.com.


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