Since bringing my show about the the trials and tribulations of a boy who doesn't like tomato sauce to Perth, scores of brave souls have come forward to admit they too do not eat sauce. Admittedly, more people have come forward to ask, "You don't eat tomato sauce? What the hell is wrong with you?" The answer is plenty. But that's a side issue to my disdain for gross condiments.
But I am not alone. Food blogger and adventurer Jenny Lee, has also felt the pain of growing up in Australia and not eating the national sauce. I caught up with Jenny to talk condiments.
Thanks for joining me in this abandoned sauce factory. It’s a creepy setting, but I appreciate it.
I can’t believe you’re making me do this interview in an abandoned sauce factory, I’m scared.
What is your first memory of not liking tomato sauce?
Probably in primary school, in prep, when I had my first class party and I was offered a party pie with a strange foul red substance on top. It was sour and clumpy and tasted like off-tomatoes.
Have you ever pretended to like sauce?
Growing up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, I had to spend most of my childhood pretending to like sauce. Meat-pies-and-sauce is the common food of AFL-loving bogan children. To fit in, I’d say yes to meat pies and sauce, though I really don’t like either of these foods. But what could I do? Survival was paramount at the time.
As a non-sauce eater, what are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?
Oh, god. Where do I begin? When you go out for dinner, the most common free condiment on the table is tomato sauce. If you ask for other condiments, expect some sort of extra charge. It’s almost like they discriminate against people who don’t like tomato sauce. It’s also difficult when you’re eating at a friend’s house. When you say you don’t like sauce, you feel a strong sense of guilt when your friend has go through their cupboards to find something else you can have with your sausage or other BBQ item. And then there’s the reactions you get from other people….everyone thinks you’re extremely strange and they ask what’s wrong with you. Nothing, really. I just don’t like tomato sauce.
Do you dislike any other condiments?
I don’t like soy sauce unless it’s Japanese soy sauce in a little squeezy fish tube. The kind you get with your sushi. I hoard my little fish soy sauces so I can use them later instead of bottled soy sauce.
Do you prefer David Lee Roth era Van Halen or Sammy Hagar era Van Halen?
What was it like for you at sausage sizzles growing up?
They were not fun…unless BBQ sauce was available. But when it wasn’t, you’d just have people gapping at your naked sausage and asking you again and again if you would like some sauce with that.
What advice do you have for youngsters who think sauce tastes like sugary, tomato shit?
You can always say no. Don’t live a double life.
Anything else you’d like to add? Do you have a film or stage musical coming out that you’d like to plug?
I actually have a food blog – The Hungry Traveller. It features all kinds of food and sauces, except tomato sauce.
Thanks for your time. No problems!
And more of Jenny's thoughts on food and Melbourne can be read on The Hungry Traveller.