Back to the topic at hand. Have you strolled down the condiment aisle of your favorite mega-mart lately? You know, this is the aisle that has all those salad dressings, mustards and barbecue sauces along with olives, pickles, giardineras, oils, vinegars, wing sauces, hot sauces, chutneys, remoulades, and those two pillars of all things culinary, Heinz ketchup and Hellmann's mayonnaise. In other words, the most interesting aisle in the supermarket. Seriously, have you tried some of that stuff? I have - in fact, my pantry closet and spice cabinet are in a contest to see which one can implode first. In the case of the pantry, the critical overload is due in great part to the inventory of sauces and dressings and mustards. When I was growing up, there was one kind of mustard, and it was yellow. There was one kind of barbecue sauce, and it did not come from the supermarket. My mother would not have known Grey Poupon from Grey Goose, and if she did, she wouldn't have bothered to buy either one.
While I always keep a bottle of my mother's precious barbecue sauce recipe all made up in my refrigerator, it is hardly the only barbecue sauce I use. Jack Daniel's, Sonny's, Cattleman's, Sticky Fingers, Big Bob Gibson's, K.C. Masterpiece, Bulls-Eye, and others I can't remember. They are all good - beyond good, they are delicious. OTC delicious. Same thing with salad dressings. I can make my own vinaigrette or creamy salad dressing, but except for something like a blue cheese or feta cheese dressing, I can get really good quality out of a bottle. These aren't the bottled salad dressings of years back, full of unprounouncable ingredients and preservatives. Today's stuff is really much better, and if you don't believe me, read the labels. Good ingredients. I am always impressed when a label shows the same ingredients I would use.
I almost always use bottled pasta sauce, but then so does Giada de Laurentiis. That should tell you something. On the other hand, I dislike bottled ranch dressing, but then I dislike ranch dressing no matter who made it. You've got to read the labels, taste the product and make up your own mind.
As an aside, I do steer clear of low fat and fat free variation of anything. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, dating back to the late seventies, I have tasted commercial attempts at low calorie foods that were so awful, they should be publicly burned. There are ways to eliminate a few calories which do not involve sucking all the flavor and enjoyment from a product (click on the link and scroll to Food Cartoon #2) - as I mentioned earlier, Ken's Northern Italian dressing is considered "Lite" - but once you head into real low fat and fat free land, you might as well start start eating library paste. Eat less, eat it less often, but eat the real stuff. Your tastebuds will thank you.
It has been a while since I made soup. I suspect this is directly related to the temperature display in my car, which rarely drops below 98 degrees. But, I am thinking about cream of carrot soup. If the temperature drops to 95, it will be cool enough for me to consider it. Whoa. Can't believe I just typed that.