1) Ketchup. What list of condiments wouldn't start with Ketchup? Interestingly enough I had both ketchup and spaghetti sauce for years before ever having my first actual tomato in my late teens. I may even have been in my early twenties. Or late twenties. Or last week. Ketchup is the All-Condiment, and goes with hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, chicken strips and more. Some people prefer mustard for hot dogs, but I've never cared for it personally.
2) Mayonnaise. Mayo is great on deli sandwiches, especially sliced turkey. It's also great on any number of fast food chicken sandwiches, and tuna fish becomes twenty times between when mixed with a healthy dollop of mayonnaise. It is not good by itself though and if it was all I had to eat on a desert island, I'm not sure I'd curl up with a jar the way Hurley has in the past.
3) Ketchup + Mayonnaise = French Dressing, or so that's what my mom taught me in Arby's when I was a boy. I've also combined these items at Wendy's and Roy Rogers. Roy's undoubtedly has the best results and this makeshift dressing is great for dipping their thick, piping hot french fries. Further research reveals that these two condiments do not combine to form French dressing, but are in fact closer to Russian Dressing. I'll have to let my mom know. It's nice to learn as a child my tastes were more international than I realized, combining French Fries with Russian Dressing.
4) Taco Bell Fire Sauce. The Mild is a joke, more water than anything, and the Hot is a bit of a misnomer, but Fire is where the flavor is at. Nachos aren't nachos without chapped lips.
5) Buffalo Sauce. I had my first real taste of spice with Buffalo Wings in a Friendly's. It was a lot like a cartoon. It didn't hit me right away and when it did, I felt like the ice in my water melted and evaporated before I poured any. The Blue Cheese dressing did little to quell the fire, but the entire experience was not unlike tasting food again for the first time, numb taste buds shocked into a state of heightened consciousness. I loved it, and from Applebee's to Chili's, I ordered it any chance I got. While not a big beer drinker, I will admit that no beverage goes better with truly hot wings. On the fast food side, both McDonald's and Burger King now offer Buffalo Sauce in small plastic containers. Mickey Dee's definitely offers a stronger sauce, but it's so unnaturally bright orange that I'm certain I'd glow in the dark if I had it more than once or twice a year. Burger King's probably isn't much healthier, yet I have that about once a week. The best kind to buy in a supermarket is Frank's Red Hot, which I believe Rey clued me in to, and which can also be found at The Green Cactus.
6) Barbecue Sauce. It's spicy and tangy without being hot like Buffalo sauce, yet it's something different from ketchup. It's definitely the best ketchup option when one doesn't want to go the burning tonsils route. Wendy's makes a particularly good one.
7) A1 Steak Sauce. I don't often go out for steak, less now that many of the Sizzlers in my area have gone out of business. But whenever I DID go to Sizzler and that A1 bottle was on the table, it was the first thing added to my steak. Sometimes I followed it with ketchup which I regret as an adult, because marring its pure form is blasphemous.
8) Honey Mustard. I don't like basic yellow mustard, but Honey Mustard, which my friends in college introduced to me during a camping trip, is definitely an exception to the rule. These days I'll most often have it on a sandwich at either Quizno's or Subway.
Honorable mention should go to Subway's Ranch Dressing as well, and this concludes my condiment review. So, what do you like on your food?