Gentleman’s Relish (England)
The Brits are known for their crazy slang. Across the pond; snog means kiss, lorry means truck and bollocks has something to do with low-talent punk bands. While these differences can cause confusion, they don’t carry the same potential for catastrophe that Gentleman’s relish does. The name seems to imply that it is some form of relish: vegetables or fruits that are chopped up and pickled. At the very least, it insinuates that it’s fit for human consumption.
In fact the greyish brown paste is over 60% anchovies because, in England, when people hear “relish” the first thing they think of is “ungodly amounts of salt”. Rounding out the recipe are herbs, spices (i.e. probably more salt) and butter (probably salted). Traditionally, it’s eaten when smeared across toast, though a number of recipes exist to help ruin virtually any meal of the day.
Interestingly, the exact recipe has remained a company secret for over 180 years, probably due to people going out of their way to avoid learning it.
Perilla Oil (Korea)
Obtained from the seeds of the perennial herb of the same name, perilla oil is used extensively by varnish and paint manufacturers. It dries quickly, forms a very hard film and can be used to make inks and linoleum. For centuries it has been used to make floors more durable. Oh, and for some stupid reason people eat it.
Like flaxseed oil, perilla is acknowledged to be consumed not for its taste, but for its supposed health benefits, of which it sort of has one. Made of up of over 50% omega-3 fatty acids, it can be used as a supplement for people unwilling to eat gross things like nuts, milk, eggs, olive oil or fresh fish. In Korean cooking, it can be used as a marinade, coating or to fry other foods.
Yes, fry foods into a thick, impenetrable husk.
Garum (Ancient Rome/Greece)
Ancient Romans are known for gorging on exotic parts from exotic animals until they decide to hit the vomitorium to start the process over again. While historians agree this is largely myth, the liberal use of garum in cooking would definitely have expedited the vomiting process. Called the supreme condiment, this type of “fish sauce” was widely used and straddled the line between food and medicine, just as the inventors no doubt straddled the line between madness and sanity.
The process of making garum was long and so unpleasant it wasn’t permitted within the city limits. First the intestines and other garbage parts of small fish were mashed into a kind of unholy slurry. Adding liberal amounts of salt water, the concoction was placed in an urn and allowed to rot and ferment for a couple months. Then they put it on pretty much everything.
While only served presently in a few niche places, recipes are available online. Remember: when in Rome, food poison as the Romans do.
Bacon Salt, BaconRanch, Baconnaise (United States)
You might have seen this coming. This cavalcade of horrors comes from an American company with the philosophy that “everything should taste like bacon”. These pioneers in food assisted suicide have found a way to merge some of the unhealthiest condiments in the west with one of the unhealthiest meats to create the condiment equivalent of punching your heart in its junk.
Basically, what we have here is the anti-vegetable. A jar of baconnaise is rumored to have been carved into the Mayan calendar as one of the signs of the end of days. It was probably in the Bible too, somewhere towards the back. It’s best not to ask why or how it is made, since they claim all of their products to be both kosher (no pork!) and vegetarian (no meat!) safe.
What you put it on may be significantly less so.
In fact, it’s probably best not to ask any questions. Just make us a turkey club, with extra Baconnaise?
- - Miracle Whip (United States): http://dearbloginheaven.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/miracle_whip.jpg http://www.diningchicago.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Miracle-Whip-machine.jpeg
- - Jeotgal (Korea): http://www.ilovetogo.com/FileUpload/Editor/ImagesUpload/WebContent/Korea/Food/Jeotgal-Saewoojeot01.jpg http://www.modernpooch.com/archives/FatDog.jpg
- - Vegemite (Australia): http://www.typeboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/vegemite.jpg http://community.travelchinaguide.com/photo/7110/71109091801920.jpg
- - Hair Soy Sauce (China): http://morningnoonandnight.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/soy-sauce.jpg http://gallery.eclipse.co.il/d/55496-2/IMG_3020.JPG
- - Gentleman’s Relish (England): http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Relish.jpg http://viatraveldesign.com/journal/archives/anchovies.jpg
- - Perilla Oil (Korea): http://web.tradekorea.com/upload_file/prod/marketing/mkt_files/company/m/milalfood/img/oimg_GC00415477_CA00415534.jpg http://www.mrdstuff.com/resource/081027%204%20-%20varnish.jpg
- - Garum (Ancient Rome/Greece): http://www.coquinaria.nl/images/garum5.kl.JPG http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/draft/images/Garum-factory-baelo_claudia-520.jpg
- - Bacon Salt, BaconRanch, Baconnaise (United States): http://ohsnapson.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/bacon_salt-1.jpg http://www.eatmedaily.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/bacon-popcorn-bacon-ranch-dressing.jpg http://henpantha.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/2008_10_30-baconnaise.jpg