A bit on the side

From fruity ketchup and sticky Worces­ter­shire sauce to nose-tin­gling, hot mus­tard and horse­rad­ish, Tom Parker Bowles cel­e­brates the im­por­tance of condi­ments in British cul­ture and food

Country Life Every Week - - In The Gar­den - Il­lus­tra­tions by Annabelle King

‘the Mus­tards, vine­gars, jel­lies and sauces are zip and zing of British food’

blob of pun­gent English mus­tard; lamb lusts af­ter the sharp em­brace of fresh mint sauce, ba­con sand­wiches the fruity bite of HP; and sticky sausages in­sist upon a pud­dle of Worces­ter­shire sauce.

Condi­ment comes from the Latin condire, mean­ing to pre­serve and pickle. And, in the days be­fore re­frig­er­a­tion, they lasted through long win­ters, as well as pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial culi­nary first aid. Hence their ubiq­ui­tous al­lure. Right up to the start of the 20th cen­tury, al­most every town had a vine­gar brewer, a by-prod­uct of beer and cider. And it wasn’t just good old malt, with­out which fish and chips are bereft.

‘Our great grand­moth­ers not only made their own vine­gars from flowers and fruit,’ notes Florence White, that pa­tron saint of Great British food in Good Things in Eng­land, ‘but they also flavoured it var­i­ously when made.’ With ev­ery­thing from prim­rose and rhubarb to goose­berry and cel­ery. Rasp­berry vine­gar, es­pe­cially

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