The boundaries between aromatics, spices, and condiments in cooking are very blurred. Their common mission is to modify the flavor of cooked ingredients, to amplify them, enhance them, and to make them even more flavorsome.
The essential difference is that aromatics and spices are products provided by nature, whether they are cultivated, or collected like salt; while condiments, on the other hand, are human inventions that are the result of an industrial process.
This is why ketchup, mustard, nuoc-mâm (fish sauce), pickles and chutney, horseradish, soy sauce, Tabasco, and vinegar – all so widely used – have been given a separate category.
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