After the beginning of the Premier League season, which was full of angst, ennui, and terrible results, it’s nice that Tottenham Hotspur can go out and just play another club off the pitch now and then. Spurs rolled to a comprehensive 5-0 win over Burnley on Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — Harry Kane scored a brace, with additional goals from Lucas Moura, Moussa Sissoko, and Son Heung-Min (though truthfully, Sonny’s goal should count for five by itself).
For today’s topic, we’re going back to the food well. Specifically, let’s talk condiments. MIrriam-Webster defines a condiment as “something used to enhance the flavor of food.” That’s a super broad definition, but also not wrong.
It’s a big topic so I’m arbitrarily narrowing the field down to prepared sauces. That rules out things like various vinegars which are also flavor enhancers but aren’t necessarily prepared food items, basic things like carmelized onions or anchovy paste, or seasonings like salt and pepper. It’s still large enough that you should be able to find plenty to fight over.
And yes, I know I’ve neglected to list [your favorite condiment here]. There are only so many categories. Argue with me if you wish, but them’s the rules. Also, I’m right.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of condiments.
6 stars: Mayonnaise
The king of condiments and I will brook no argument on the matter. You would not think that an emulsion of oil and egg yolks would create something so incredibly delicious. You would be wrong. Its secret is that while mayo is subtly delicious on its own, its true genius is that it serves as the perfect conduit for other flavors. Make aioli by adding garlic. Add chili peppers or horseradish to tame the heat but still add flavor. Add various herbs or sun-dried tomatoes and whizz in the blender. The options are limitless.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 9.3): I thought the goal he scored against David Luiz last season was incredible. His goal against Burnley blew that away. Sonny absolutely terrorized Burnley’s defense; this might have been his best-ever match in a Tottenham shirt.
5 stars: Pesto
There are lots of condiments that are basically variations on a theme (barbecue sauce is delicious but is more or less fancy ketchup, remoulade is just mayo with stuff in it, etc.) but pesto is its own, unique, glorious thing. And it is so damn good. Green herbs (basil, but you can sub any number of things, including things like arugula or beet greens), pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt, crushed and mixed to form a loose paste that transforms pasta into something magical and enhances everything it comes into contact with. There is never not pesto in my fridge.
Harry Kane (Community — 9.0): Wow. Two thumping goals, including the first on four minutes. Against Burnley Kane was doing all the things that everyone thought he’s been doing but really hasn’t the past number of weeks — making runs, dropping into half-spaces, playing in teammates, shooting. Outstanding.
4.5 stars: Hot sauce/Salsa
The past couple of years, I’ve ended up with a fairly large quantity of hot peppers from my parents’ garden. I’ve also tried (moderately unsuccessfully) to grow my own. Why? Fermented hot sauce. This is magic elixir that adds heat, acidity, and flavor to just about anything you put on it. This is a broad category that includes things like Sriracha but also Frank’s Red Hots and anything else that’s chili based. I’m also including salsa in this category as it is basically the evolved Pokemon form of ketchup.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 7.8): As abject as he looked beside Harry Winks against Manchester United, Sissoko looked fantastic beside Dier in virtually the same role. Took his goal well and plonked another off the crossbar. Worked hard and ran all over the pitch.
Lucas Moura (Community — 7.5): Was in the right place at the right time for his scrappy back-post goal, and was fast and direct going forward. But I was more impressed with his defensive performance, frequently tracking back to make defensive plays and stops.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 7.6): He just keeps getting better and better. Flawless at the back, and good with the ball at his feet as well. And he never committed a single foul.
Jan Vertonghen (Community — 7.4): Sure, he was a solid, steady presence at the back while playing in three different positions at times. But did you SEE the way he set up Sonny? That was a :fire-emoji: assist worthy of the exalted name of Tom Carroll.
4 stars: Chutney
If you aren’t on the chutney train, get your ass to the station. There are exactly infinite varieties, but all of them are a mixture of tart fruits, pickled veggies, and various spices and are universally delicious. A good chutney can elevate most things it comes in contact with. You may have to experiment with various types for various foods, but chutneys can be a game changer for all kinds of foods, not just Indian.
Dele (Community — 7.1): Dele was a big part of Spurs offense, but he had a secondary role compared to a lot of his teammates. Might have a slightly higher rating if he had either scored on that one breakaway or had the vision to see Sonny wide open to his right. It’s fine, he doesn’t have to be a five-star performer EVERY match.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 7.1): Continues to improve in Mourinho’s system with every match. Cleared a potential goal with his head off the line and mucked around defensively cleaning up loose balls. A solid performance.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 8.4): I’m not sure what he did differently compared to the United match except swap in Dier for Winks. Whatever, it worked. Good job, Jose!
3.5 stars: Mustard
In the condiment world, there are two kinds of mustards: yellow, and everything else. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous yellow knocks mustard down off what would otherwise be a very high perch, because yellow mustard is pretty terrible. All other mustards are delicious and add a tang and a bit of heat to sandwiches, burgers, etc. especially the whole grain varieties. Mustard is also a critical binder for emulsions like mayo or vinaigrettes.
Eric Dier (Community — 6.7): Very good as a defensive shield in front of the back line and he continues to improve with every match. Still needs to get his passing under control as he had a few gaaaah-worthy attempts in midfield.
3 stars: Ketchup
I am not here to diss ketchup. It’s ubiquitous, it’s universal, it’s the preferred condiment of every four-year old child everywhere. You know why? Because it’s tasty, but approachable, even in its corn syrup-sweetened mass-marketed Heinz variety. Everyone likes ketchup, it’s just not FANCY. Protip: elevate your ketchup to god-tier by making your own. It’s worth it, trust me.
Paulo Gazzaniga (Community — 6.7): This feels harsh considering the high ratings of just about everyone else on this team, but he honestly didn’t have much to do. For me, 3 stars is a benchline performance for a keeper. He did get the clean sheet, however.
Serge Aurier (Community — 6.3): Not the most impressive performance from Serge and seemed to go missing from time to time but did a good job pressing high up the pitch. Picked up a knock late.
Ryan Sessegnon (Community — 6.0): Barely had enough time to qualify for a rating, and didn’t need to be impressive or chase a goal. Perfectly acceptable performance in limited minutes. Looks like Mourinho sees him as an attacking midfielder right now, which may limit his minutes going forward.
2 stars: Tartar sauce
The unholy love child of two separate condiments — mayo and pickle relish — there does not seem to be any other application for this condiment than breaded and fried fish. Why is it so ubiquitous? Gross.
1 star: Marmite
Half of the UK folk reading this are nodding in approval right now, and the other half want to string me up by my toenails. That’s fine. And while I own a jar of Marmite and use it as a umami bomb in things like stews and other cooking applications, I’m convinced that only a monster would actually eat this stuff plain on toast. As a savory flavor enhancer, Marmite is fine. But not as a condiment, eww eww eww.
Tom Carroll memorial non-rating
Oliver Skipp, Troy Parrott