July 16, 2003

America's Condiment and Other Goodness

It is not even 10 a.m. and already I have read enough quality commentary to sate my appetite for the stuff. The topic du jour? Why, America's Condiment -- the great and wonderful and precious thing we call "salsa."

You should know that Lileks has used part of today's Bleat to disucss salsa, including an enjoyable interlude on the merits of "corporate salsa" v. "boutique salsa." Mr Lileks says that he should buy the latter at the expense of the former, but I personally think this gives too much credit to the purveyors of inferior-grade salsa in this world.

Here in New Hampshire, the grocery store which I frequent has a variety of boutique salsas for sale. Unfortunately, these salsas come in some horrible flavor, such as peach; or the producers forgot to add in hot peppers; or some other gastronomical sin has been committed to make the thing palatable to trendy people who don't know any better. Besides -- as part of a trend which Lileks notes, with his fictional example of the Wisconsin salsa -- some of these things are made in Maine.

I'll be damned if I am going to trust a Mainer when it comes to salsa. Lobster, yes; shellfish, yes; salsa ... no. Certainly not. This would be akin to purchasing merlot from South Dakota, or schnitzel in Oregon, or bagels in Topeka. One ought not do such things.

Now, that is not to say that Maine salsa, South Dakota wine, German food in Oregon, or Topeka bagels are bad. Don't get me wrong. Besides, the last thing I need are angry letters from the Topeka Bagel Cooperative and Gas-n-Sip. But since glorious capitalism has made it possible for a man to purchase sublime (and wicked hot) salsas from salsa-making areas such as Texas, New Mexico and California, there is no reason why he should not shell out the same money to get a better product. I mean, come on -- it's just comparative advantage at work.

Of course, as Lileks and others note, one can also get imported salsa from Mexico. Personally, though, I am not convinced that some of those salsas -- lovingly canned into existence at some run-down maquiladora in Ciudad Acuna -- are true and authentic. On the other hand, if you can live in Mexico and sample the local wares for yourself, you should definitely do so. Heck, Layne did.

Now that, my friends, is living.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 16, 2003 09:13 AM | TrackBack

Ben, I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Except for one formerly boutique salsa which seems to be gaining momentum--there is a brand called "Mrs. Renfro's" that makes a nice habanero salsa.... MMmmmmm.... Now *that's* a hot salsa! Give Tios #4 a run for its money...

Posted by: Geoff Brown at July 16, 2003 10:57 AM

"...German food in Oregon..."

Clearly, you have not been to the Berlin Inn in Portland...

Posted by: Brian Swisher at July 22, 2003 10:29 AM

I think this was all summed up by a commercial several years ago.

"New York City?! Get a rope."

Posted by: Paul Morris at July 29, 2003 05:31 PM