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Condiments And Hors d'Oeuvres

( Originally Published 1904 )

Condiments are ingredients which are added to foods to impart a flavor, to stimulate the appetite, and to aid digestion.

They are either simple or compound. Simple condiments are gifts of nature; compound condiments are products of the art of cookery.

Simple condiments -are divided into seven classes: salt, acid, sharp; bitter, aromatic, sweet, and fat, condiments.

Salt.—This is sea-salt, the chloride of sodium of the chemist; nitre of saltpetre. The latter is never used by cooks, but only in the preservation of meats. Sea-salt enters into the cooking and the seasoning of. food in nearly all of the culinary preparations. It is beyond question the best and the most healthy of the seasonings. Its use is to moderately excite the mucus membrane of the mouth, to increase the flow of saliva, and to increase the appetite. There are several combinations and preparations of it, such as celery-salt, etc.

Acids.-Vinegar, lemon, etc., form the acid condiments. They should be taken only in moderate quantities, and then much diluted. They excite the salivary glands, quench the thirst, and help to render the more indigestible food, such as the mucilaginous kinds, more easily assimilated.

Sharp or Acrid.—This class includes members of the onion and garlic families, mustard, cress, radish, horseradish, peppers, Tabasco, capers, and nasturtium.

Aromatic.—Parsley, caraway, thyme, rosemary, sage, summer savory belong to this group.

Sharply Aromatic.—This division includes cabbage, cauliflower, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and pimento.

Sweet.—Sugar, gums, mucilages, and starches belong under this head.

Fat.—Olive oil, almond oil, oil of nuts, fats, and butter.

The compound condiments, outside of the sauces, are usually classed with the hors d'oeuvres. These are relishes which are served at the commencement of a meal, or after the soup, before the first service, to whet the appetites of the diners. They are of infinite variety and include vegetables, fish, etc. They are butter, radishes, olives, slices of sausage or bologna, sardines, anchovies, herring (either smoked or salted), artichokes, cucumber with salad, and, above all, when the season permits, oysters.

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