Butters, Condiments, and Spreads
Butters, condiments, and spreads are categories of food that almost defy definition. Certain items can be classified as more than one of these categories, while others change their classification depending on where and how you use them. However, the essence of all three is still the same: to enhance your food. When eaten on its own, a plain piece of bread probably seems unpalatable. Drop it in the toaster, and it’s a bit better. What really brings it to life, though, is the addition of some sort of topping. That one little change can take your toast from sad to sensational.
Even though we love the classics, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room to build upon them. We no longer need to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from plain peanut butter and strawberry or grape jelly. Instead, the food industry has introduced butters made from nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. There are also new flavors of traditional peanut butter, such as IFANCA® halal-certified Cinnamon Raisin Swirl™ and Dark Chocolatey Dreams™ from Peanut Butter & Co.® Plain strawberry and grape jelly have been upgraded as well, and you can find jams in a whole host of unique flavors, such as banana, hot pepper, mango, and tomato. Who’s to say that a sandwich of sunflower seed butter and guava jelly wouldn’t be delicious?
Another food revolution has taken place in the world of condiments and spreads. Unique products from around the globe are a staple at big-box and local stores alike. Tzatziki sauce and pico de gallo are commonly found in grocery store delis, while harissa and kimchi are staples of the condiments section. U.S. cooking shows prominently feature condiments like curry paste and gochujang, and more and more brands are putting their own spin on items like mayonnaise and salsa. One favorite, hot sauce, has been added to almost everything. You can buy Hot Sauce, Louisiana Style from American Garden® or Mexican Hot Sauce from La Costeña®, both of which are halal certified. If you want a different spicy flavor to add to your dish, Mitchell’s® offers halal-certified Chipotle Sauce, Habanero Sauce, and Jalapeño Sauce. Even ketchup has alternatives! National Foods® sells Hot & Spicy Ketchup in addition to traditional tomato ketchup.
The world of butters, condiments, and spreads has embraced plant-based alternatives with open arms. Many of the common ones are plant-based to begin with, but some toppings need a few adjustments to suit a vegan diet. Luckily, Tofutti® Sour Supreme® Guacamole and Better Than Cream Cheese® are dairy-free, vegan, and halal certified. Plant-based mayonnaise has also become popular, with brands discovering more and more alternatives to egg yolks. Even traditional butter made from cow’s milk has emerging vegan alternatives that incorporate plant-based milk. The internet is full of recipes for dairy-free or vegan alternatives to seven-layer dip, nacho cheese dip, spinach and artichoke dip, etc. At this point, if a plant-based alternative hasn’t reached your grocery store shelves, it will probably be there soon.
Just as our old favorites are getting new flavors, they’re also gaining new uses. Hummus is one example of this. Now that it comes in a chocolate variety, you can enjoy this chickpea spread as part of your dessert. Peanut butter also crosses into multiple categories. It can be paired with celery and eaten as a snack, spread on top of a piece of toast for breakfast, or mixed with savory ingredients like soy sauce and vinegar to create a sauce for dipping or marinating. Who’s to say you can’t replace your avocado toast with plant-based ricotta toast? Why not put mayonnaise on your halal hot dog instead of ketchup? How about adding tzatziki to your salad instead of your usual dressing?
With a bit of inspiration, you can discover different ways to incorporate your favorite butters, condiments, and spreads into new dishes. Search the internet for ideas, or, if you’re feeling brave, just give it a go. At best, you’ll have a new favorite recipe to share. At worst, you’ll have a better understanding of why no one has mixed the two before.
Alison DeGuide is a content developer at IFANCA, as well as the editor of Halal Consumer Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in public diplomacy from the University of Southern California, where she also did her undergraduate studies.