Condiment Conflict

My husband, Brent, and I are usually pretty compatible. We both like reading, bicycling and ice cream. We enjoy the same music. I like to cook, he likes to eat. (Okay, so do I.) Sometimes we even agree on the best toppings for certain foods.

But not always…

Oatmeal: We agree on brown sugar. Fruit is optional.

French fries: We agree on ketchup.

Fish sticks: I may use a little ketchup but can take it or leave it, while Brent uses ketchup every time. Not that we eat fish sticks since the kids are grown.

Baked potatoes: We agree that butter, salt and sour cream are essential. Brent also likes to add grated cheese, which I don’t care for but fully support. See how reasonable I am?

Sweet potato fries: These clearly need NO condiments, as they are already seasoned with cracked black pepper and sea salt. But Brent makes the association “fries = ketchup” and so puts ketchup on them.

Tortilla-crusted tilapia: These also need no topping. I mean, they’re coated with yummy crunchy tortilla dust crumbs, flavored with lime and cilantro. Brent, however, associates “fish = fish sticks = ketchup.” Bleah. I would feel a teeny bit insulted if this were a made-from-scratch dish rather than a Costco baked-from-frozen entree.

Last week I made a magnificent Quiche Lorraine, complete with Swiss cheese, bacon and onion. In a fit of healthiness I added fresh spinach and some mushroom slices. The crust was a tender, flaky dream pastry made from scratch, using the cuss-proof (it’s that easy!) recipe Brent’s cousin gave me years ago.

When the filling was done and the top perfectly browned I pulled the pie plate from the oven and let it cool just enough. Our table looked lovely — perfect slices of quiche nestled beside colorful tossed salad. Iced tea in sparkling glasses. We sat down and gave thanks, then Brent got up again.

“I already set out the salad dressing,” I pointed out helpfully.

“That’s not what I need,” he said.

I was still chewing my first bite when Brent came back and set a condiment down on the table. Balsamic vinegar? Parmesan cheese, maybe? Surely it was something worthy of such a perfect, succulent home-crafted entree.

I looked at the label.

It wasn’t balsamic vinegar.

It wasn’t Parmesan cheese.

I might have turned a little pale as Brent removed the lid and shook the bottle over his quiche.

Finally I was able to speak. “You’re using Butt Burnin’ Hot Sauce from Fuzzy’s Tacos?”

“Well yeah.”

“On Quiche Lorraine?”

“Sure.”

I give up.

But really, is it any skin off my nose if he tops a food with something I wouldn’t use? I once stood in front of our families and friends and promised to love Brent for richer, for poorer… in sickness, and in health… with ketchup and with quiche… or something.

So, bon appetit, Sweetie. And if you want pickles or strawberry preserves on your roast beef, I’ll get you some from the fridge.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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10 Responses to Condiment Conflict

  1. saraleeperel says:

    Oh dear, I see myself making the same choices that Brent makes. I also NEED to add Russian dressing to everything. Your never-to-be-gourmet friend who loves you, Saralee

    Like

  2. mrs. spike says:

    “See how reasonable I am?” Had to laugh out loud there. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about men and sauce. My dad and my brothers were constantly desecrating my mother’s creations when I was growing up. I think she got over it eventually, but not after a lot of raised eyebrows and stern suggestions NOT to smother the casserole with ketchup.

    Like

  3. Jennifer says:

    As Brent’s sister, I seem to remember him putting ketchup on just about everything while we were growing up. Oh, I think I need this fool-proof pie crust recipe! I didn’t know this existed! Love you Sis!

    Like

  4. marlece says:

    My boys! They do the same darn thing? I am always asking, “are you drowning out my fabulous concoction, or do you seriously ‘just have to have it’ in order to bring out the amazingness of what I just put out there that much more!?” I don’t get it, no I don’t!

    I think I love this post most! ha!

    Like

  5. jodyo70 says:

    My father in law had the same reaction of shock and disdain when he saw me put ketchup on my baked chicken. My kids do it, too. Some people………

    Like

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