From Ketchup To Chutney To Sauces Ever Wondered Where Condiments Came From?
Image Credit: iStock, Salt is the first known condiment that helped to enhance the taste

Most of our meals are not complete without some condiments on sides be it any chutney, aachar, papad, dips or anything. But let’s understand what is a condiment; it’s preparation that when added to food while eating , helps to enhance the flavour, or to compliment the dish. The word condiment comes from Condiment: from L. condimentum "spice, seasoning, sauce," from condire "to preserve, pickle, season" (variant of condere "to put away, store").  Later, the word came into use to refer any kind of spices or seasonings.

It’s a known fact that since ancient times, we have been using condiments to enhance our food taste and yes the first condiment known to us is the humble salt.  These sides do get a mention in Ancient Rome, Ancient India, Ancient Greece and Ancient China. Salt has been there since ancient times, both as a preservative and also to enhance the flavour of food. It was mainly used to improve its texture, stimulate the palate. Then we see the use of Vinegar and this one gets its name from probably the French words vinaiger meaning sour wine. This was also used as a medicine too. Interestingly through centuries vinegar along with other sauces and spices had become much popular due to trade empire expansion. 

Romans got mustard to Europe/ Pic -

 Like the credit to bringing mustard to the European countries goes The Romans, while some condiments grew in popularity in the 1800s due to industrial growth; like ketchup, horseradish and Worcester sauce. It’s a known fact that Romans liked condiments and they also made many sauces to along with their food. Sauces like Hollandaise sees their mention first in the mid-18th century, while a story suggest that it was a French chef who first made mayonnaise in 1756, while the Tabasco sauce was first invented by Edmund McIlhenry in 1868a and the all-time favourite  Salad cream in 1914.

It was around 16th, 17th, and 18th century that saw some of the new condiments, like Pesto sauce was invented in 16th century in Italy, while 17th century saw the invention of bechamel and chasseur. Worcester sauce was born in 1835 by John Lea and William Perrin. But not to forget that Chutney comes from India. Bursting with flavours this condiment has never seen the main course importance in a meal but it’s also something one cannot do without. Interestingly the word “chutney” itself come from the Hindi word "catni" which means to lick and this dish baata and aumbole pre-dated the Raj, and served many purposes — to aid digestion, cool the body and use food parts that would otherwise go to waste. Do you know that you'll also find chutney in the Caribbean and Africa? During the colonial era it’s said that the British took tis chutney preparation home and from then onwards it further spread.

Today we see most of these so called condiments all bottled and being sold as commercial products, giving a much different view of condiments then and today, as mustard, ketchup, hot sauce and more.