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Condiment theft


Fresser
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My day began innocently enough as Mama Fresser and I enjoyed our breakfast nosh at the mall's food court McDonald's. I stood in line for a refill of Diet Coke when I spied the unlikely perpetrator: a youngish lass, maybe 20 years of age, clutching an unwrapped Subway sandwich.

"What's she doing here?" I thought. "If Subway forgot an ingredient on her sandwich, they're in the other direction." Thus did I watch in horror as the lass, with great insouciance, strolled to the McDonald's counter and doused her Subway sandwich with barbecue sauce from the McDonald's self-service pump.

"Condiment thief!" I shouted after the lass. She turned to me, snarled, and brandished her chicken breast sandwich as a weapon, intimating that such battles are best fought in the media, not in the mall. So here will I present my grievance and warn of an impending sandwich sauce crime wave.

Savvy marketers that they are, fast-food chains are keen to the threat of conspicuous condiment consumption. McDonald's manager Thorsten Veblen noted that his store charges 5 cents for each ketchup or dipping sauce the customer requests in excess of two packages, calling customers who dispute the surcharge "(P)arasites on the capitalist host. Ketchup may be a vegetable, but it certainly isn't free."

Acknowledging the experimental Serve Your Own Sauce Station, Veblen posits the existence of the Saucy Equilibrium, whereby bourgeois sandwich-eaters balance the transaction costs of excess auto-dispensing with the indifference cost of schlepping a dozen ketchup packets in their satchels.

Not being a trained economist, I take the sociological view that a crime wave may be taking root at our local hamburger stand. After all, why stop at barbecue sauce? Hot dog stand owners may soon invaded by the Mustard Marauders preparing for their 4th of July picnics. Why stand in the grocery line to purchase your Plochman's when you can just swipe some from the local wienermeister?

I also fear that seafood restaurants are not immune. Next time you're at Arthur Treacher's enjoying your fried fish and hush puppies, be on the look out for the Tartar Sauce Gang and the Vinegar Vixens warring over their turf.

All I know is, the next time I see a non-customer taking condiments from a restaurant, I'm calling Interpol.

Edited by Fresser (log)

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Several points:

(a) Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, etc in plastic mini-squeeze packages are among the things referred to in the Old Testament as "abominations" and therefore those who appropriate them are getting exactly what they deserve.

(b) Somewhere in the wisdom of one people or another, it is written that "stealing from a thief is not theft". Like you, I'm not an economist but by heaven anyone too cheap to give me mustard, ketchup or chili sauce from a civilized container is in my book "a thief" and whatever you take from their condiments is exempt from moral or legal prosecution.

© I do recall as a student in Paris that there was, for almost a year, a severe shortage of sugar and about the only place you could find it was in those little paper packages on the table in cafes. It became the "in" sport of the day to swipe enough of those sugar packages as possible in order to have a supply on hand at home.

(d) Now, were someone to ask me about those people who swipe ashtrays from European cafes and bistros and that's another story altogether.

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I reserve my theft for only one particular condiment, and only because there's no way for me to buy any quantity of it -- Arby's Horsey Sauce. If you could buy it in a store or if the Arby's locations sold it in jars you could take home, I'd refrain from stealing them.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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OK, the salient point here is what the hell were you thinking having breakfast at McD's in a mall food court, anyway? That is the true crime.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I confess: when on road trips and I am patronizing a gas station with REAL half n half in the little plastic tubs - not "liquid creamer" or "fat free" or (shudder) "coffee white" - I take extras for the next stop down the highway where my choices may be far more limited.

Of course, I could just stick a carton of half n half in the car, but that would take advance planning, ya know? *grin*

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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I'm with Jason... sort of. I like the original Arby's sauce. A lot. Really, a lot. I will stuff the packets into my purse by the fistfull. It's one of the few BBQ sauces that I actually like. I do wish I could get my hands on a big jug of it tho'. Do you know how hard it is to grill chicken with Arby's sauce, packet by packet?

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I too am wondering about your breakfast choice, Fresser.

That said, I took a few packages of mustard from the Whole Foods in NY last weekend. It was just sitting there... Actually, I needed some for the knishes that I planned on bringing back. Can't seem to find a good knish in Philly, but that is for another thread. Having those little packs is better than begging your co-workers if you can borrow their mustard (who knows where it's been), or having a whole bottle of it and having other people steal it.

Please don't turn me in. :sad:

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

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To spare Jason's karma from further injury, I present the recipe for Arby's Horsey sauce, as provided by the King of recipe cloning, Todd Wilbur:

1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons bottled cream-style horseradish

1 tablespoon sugar.

I usually buy the 'Beaver' brand cream style horseradish; a popular brand name in the Pacific NW.

Mix well, garnish appropriately, and mainline as necessary.

PS: The Kraft Horseradish Sauce, sold in a handy 10 oz. flip-top squeeze bottle at my local Safeway is also quite similar to the Arby's sauce, except that I would say that the Arby's clone has some more zip to it. If you read the ingredients on the Kraft bottle, you will note it is essentially just mayonnaise with added horseradish.

Edited by MGLloyd (log)

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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For Lesfen, the ever-busy Todd Wilbur has solved your problem as well:

Arby's sauce

1 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons water

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to boil, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove the sauce from the heat. Cover and allow to cool.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I was cured of my occasional moral lapses into condiment theft during a visit to Martha's Vineyard a few years ago. A few friends and I were camping, and I had brought along one of those metal espresso-makers that works surprisingly well on a wood fire. But I had forgotten sugar. While enjoying a beer in the Newes from America in Edgartown, one of our companions ordered coffee, and I saw a solution: a big stack of sugar packets in a dispenser on the table. I stuffed 5 or 6 in my shirt pocket, happily anticipating a balanced espresso the next morning.

The next time our waitress came around, much to everyone's surprise, the guy who ordered the coffee, a mischievous character visiting from Bogota, Columbia, points to me and announces loudly "he took sugar!"

I think our server was more surprised than I was, and there was an odd moment where I sheepishly admitted I had indeed pilfered some sugar and the waitress tried to figure out if she was supposed to care... She just laughed and walked away. Thankfully, Fresser was not there to put me under citizen's arrest.

The accusation was just so surprising, nobody knew how to react. We all were pretty amused, but I was also just embarrassed enough that I think I've been cured of my larcenous urges. (Although I might have recently taken a few more peppers than I really needed from the Quizno's... )

Oh, and it poured rain for the remainder of my trip, so I never managed to brew up that espresso.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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For Lesfen, the ever-busy Todd Wilbur has solved your problem as well:

Arby's sauce

1 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons water

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to boil, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove the sauce from the heat. Cover and allow to cool.

Oh baby.

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Not exactly a theif... but when you order tea or coffee in Hong Kong's fast food shop, they will automatically give you packages of sugar. Since my parents do not want to waste anything(they don't put sugar in their drink), they will bring those sugar home. Once we have collected a large pile, then it is my job to open all the little packages and empty them out in the sugar jar. My parents haven't brought sugar in a very long time....

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I worked at a McDonald's one summer in college ( :wacko: ), and this was a particularly stressed point in our training week. Our store owner was very particular about charging for more than two packets of McNugget sauce, mustard, mayo, etc. (though he didn't care much about ketchup). He fired a register worker he caught 3 times giving extra sweet and sour sauce or something. Finally, after sniping on all parts, we had a staff meeting where he explained that each box of ketchup packets costs X amount of dollars, if we give out too many packets, we go through a lot more, most of which get thrown away, we buy more boxes, store doesn't make as much money, your raise doesn't go through. I think even the coworkers who needed picture diagrams on everything even got that lecture.

Another interesting point. When we added a condiment station with squirt pumps of ketchup and mustard with those little paper cups, condiment consumption cut by about a third. Though the cups and the packets hold about the same amount (near a Tbsp.), the cups look like more and are harder to hold, so people just grab one or two, and end up using all of what they've got before getting more.

I tend not to steal condiments any more unless I find something that's extra special. For example, I only get to an Arby's on vacation, and always get extra Horsy and BBQ sauce for later roast beef sandwiches, but it looks like I won't have to any more! :smile: Thanks for the recipes!

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I reserve my theft for only one particular condiment, and only because there's no way for me to buy any quantity of it -- Arby's Horsey Sauce. If you could buy it in a store or if the Arby's locations sold it in jars you could take home, I'd refrain from stealing them.

Oh my god. I thought it was just me. I love the Horsey sauce at Arby's. It's better than any other horseradish/mayo type condiment I have been able to find thusfar because the balance of hotness and richness is just right.

I'll have to try the recipes above. Thanks everyone!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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My day began innocently enough as Mama Fresser and I enjoyed our breakfast nosh at the mall's food court McDonald's.  I stood in line for a refill of Diet Coke when I spied the unlikely perpetrator:  a youngish lass, maybe 20 years of age, clutching an unwrapped Subway sandwich.

"What's she doing here?" I thought.  "If Subway forgot an ingredient on her sandwich, they're in the other direction."  Thus did I watch in horror as the lass, with great insouciance, strolled to the McDonald's counter and doused her Subway sandwich with barbecue sauce from the McDonald's self-service pump.

"Condiment thief!" I shouted after the lass.  She turned to me, snarled, and brandished her chicken breast sandwich as a weapon, intimating that such battles are best fought in the media, not in the mall.  So here will I present my grievance and warn of an impending sandwich sauce crime wave.

Savvy marketers that they are, fast-food chains are keen to the threat of conspicuous condiment consumption.  McDonald's manager Thorsten Veblen noted that his store charges 5 cents for each ketchup or dipping sauce the customer requests in excess of two packages, calling customers who dispute the surcharge "(P)arasites on the capitalist host.  Ketchup may be a vegetable, but it certainly isn't free."

Acknowledging the experimental Serve Your Own Sauce Station, Veblen posits the existence the Saucy Equilibrium, whereby bourgeois sandwich-eaters balance the transaction costs of excess auto-dispensing with the indifference cost of schlepping a dozen ketchup packets in their satchels.

Not being a trained economist, I take the sociological view that a crime wave may be taking root at our local hamburger stand.  After all, why stop at barbecue sauce?  Hot dog stand owners may soon invaded by the Mustard Marauders preparing for their 4th of July picnics.  Why stand in the grocery line to purchase your Plochman's when you can just swipe some from the local wienermeister? 

I also fear that seafood restaurants are not immune.  Next time you're at Arthur Treacher's enjoying your fried fish and hush puppies, be on the look out for the Tartar Sauce Gang and the Vinegar Vixens warring over their turf.

All I know is, the next time I see a non-customer taking condiments from a restaurant, I'm calling Interpol.

Bunk. I'll take as many as I can on the stop to the mini mart before embarking on the plane ride. Because I'm a glutton, I'll even eat airplane food, but not without the extra packets of salt, pepper, and most importantly, MAYO that they so thoughtfully put out for me.

So sue me. :raz:

~J

"So, do you want me to compromise your meal for you?" - Waitress at Andy's Diner, Dec 4th, 2004.

The Fat Boy Guzzle --- 1/2 oz each Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, Southern Comfort, Absolut Citron over ice in a pint glass, squeeze 1/2 a lemon and top with 7-up...Credit to the Bar Manager at the LA Cafe in Hong Kong who created it for me on my hire. Thanks, Byron. Hope you are well!

http://bloatitup.com

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If stealing condiments is moral outrage, I think we must also look askance at those who accumulate uncounted pachages of soy sauce, duck sauce and mustard from Chinese delivery places.

We all know at least one of these wastrels: you're looking for a fork or a corkscrew or an airline bottle of Jack Daniels in their kitchen and suddenly you come upon a lifetime supply of plastick packets -- a waste of natural resources on par with owning a Hummer or the breast augmentation industry. These people should be shunned, and their condiments recycle or distributed to the needy.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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My day began innocently enough as Mama Fresser and I enjoyed our breakfast nosh at the mall's food court McDonald's.  I stood in line for a refill of Diet Coke when I spied the unlikely perpetrator:  a youngish lass, maybe 20 years of age, clutching an unwrapped Subway sandwich.

"What's she doing here?" I thought.  "If Subway forgot an ingredient on her sandwich, they're in the other direction."  Thus did I watch in horror as the lass, with great insouciance, strolled to the McDonald's counter and doused her Subway sandwich with barbecue sauce from the McDonald's self-service pump.

"Condiment thief!" I shouted after the lass.  She turned to me, snarled, and brandished her chicken breast sandwich as a weapon, intimating that such battles are best fought in the media, not in the mall.  So here will I present my grievance and warn of an impending sandwich sauce crime wave.

Savvy marketers that they are, fast-food chains are keen to the threat of conspicuous condiment consumption.  McDonald's manager Thorsten Veblen noted that his store charges 5 cents for each ketchup or dipping sauce the customer requests in excess of two packages, calling customers who dispute the surcharge "(P)arasites on the capitalist host.  Ketchup may be a vegetable, but it certainly isn't free."

Acknowledging the experimental Serve Your Own Sauce Station, Veblen posits the existence the Saucy Equilibrium, whereby bourgeois sandwich-eaters balance the transaction costs of excess auto-dispensing with the indifference cost of schlepping a dozen ketchup packets in their satchels.

Not being a trained economist, I take the sociological view that a crime wave may be taking root at our local hamburger stand.  After all, why stop at barbecue sauce?  Hot dog stand owners may soon invaded by the Mustard Marauders preparing for their 4th of July picnics.  Why stand in the grocery line to purchase your Plochman's when you can just swipe some from the local wienermeister? 

I also fear that seafood restaurants are not immune.  Next time you're at Arthur Treacher's enjoying your fried fish and hush puppies, be on the look out for the Tartar Sauce Gang and the Vinegar Vixens warring over their turf.

All I know is, the next time I see a non-customer taking condiments from a restaurant, I'm calling Interpol.

Two words.

College student.

Quite often you will see them go in, get a sandwich, and leave with a POCKET FULL of condiments.

There must be something about condiments, that makes the mind more open to, lets say, something.

:biggrin:

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Heh. I confess (confessing is supposed to be good for the soul, right?) that I've often wondered about the ethical implications of taking free food samples at supermarkets, Costco, and the like, with no intention whatsoever of actually buying any of the products sampled. Not that this question has caused me to stop making the rounds of the sample tables. But it's stopped me from going back and getting multiple samples of the same item. Erm ... most of the time. :blush::laugh:

(Oh yeah, speaking of Costco--I usually get a maximum wad of sauerkraut on my Polish sausage at the Costco cafe. But that's the amount of sauerkraut I usually pile on a hotdog etc., even when I'm paying for it. :raz: )

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(d)  Now, were someone to ask me about those people who swipe ashtrays from European cafes and bistros and that's another story altogether.

Now that none of my friends today even smoke, I have an excellent collection of ashtrays from Europe ... shall I try to sell them on eBay? :laugh:

The quite respectable and excellent replacement for Arby's Horsey Sauce is made by Boar's Head: Boar's Head Pub Style Horseradish Sauce and you need not tear that little package open to enjoy it at home ....

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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This probably not news to anyone who wants to try the Arby's Horsey sauce recipe, but I have found wide variation in the amount of heat/zest amongst various brands of cream-style horseradish. For example, I have found the Inglehoffer and Kraft brands to be on the relatively mild side, the Beaver in the middle, and Royal Bohemian from Wisconsin way too hot for my taste. I have also tried this recipe using fresh grated horseradish, and was surprised how relatively bland the fresh horseradish was. You may need to experiment with different brands to find something to your taste.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I've made horseradish mayo before, but there must be something about the processed aspect of Arby's. I think that you probably would need to give the mayo several weeks to mature in order to get that really smooth flavor, and I dont think you can achieve that fine processed texture at home that you can under manufacturing conditions.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Heh. I confess (confessing is supposed to be good for the soul, right?) that I've often wondered about the ethical implications of taking free food samples at supermarkets, Costco, and the like, with no intention whatsoever of actually buying any of the products sampled. Not that this question has caused me to stop making the rounds of the sample tables. But it's stopped me from going back and getting multiple samples of the same item. Erm ... most of the time. :blush:  :laugh:

(Oh yeah, speaking of Costco--I usually get a maximum wad of sauerkraut on my Polish sausage at the Costco cafe. But that's the amount of sauerkraut I usually pile on a hotdog etc., even when I'm paying for it. :raz: )

There have been a couple of times when, as I opened up the sample tray at the Super Fresh to help myself to the deli meat and cheese of the day*, one of the deli counter staff would ask if I wanted anything. Once I mumbled off the request, the second time the guilt-trip worked. Both of those times were on weekday afternoons when almost no one is in the store.

Here's another take on this subject. On my refrigerator door I have posted this Sunday panel from Aaron McGruder's sharp-elbowed comic strip "The Boondocks":

gallery_20347_2076_465530.jpg

For those of you who haven't seen the strip, a little background: The main character in this installment is Riley Freeman, the thug-wannabe little brother of the strip's main character, Huey. That's Huey as in Newton; the older brother is a straight-up black radical and champion of the dispossesed. The pair live with their grandfather in an unidentified suburb where both feel somewhat displaced.

The action above is vintage Riley, who once renamed the streets in their subdivision (Weeping Deer Lane, Babbling Brook Terrace...) for gangsta rappers (Notorious B.I.G Drive...).

Edited to add: Whoops! Hit the Submit button before I put in the footnote:

*The sample tray at the Super Fresh deli counter is a relatively recent addition to the store, making its first appearance about six months after Whole Foods opened its South Street store right next door. One of the nicer things about shopping at Whole Paycheck is that they are promiscuous with their sample offerings, especially at the cheese counter. :wub:

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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