As for condiments, this family tried to ketchup
Fortunately, there really is no accounting for taste. If there were, my taste account would be overdrawn.
Perhaps, I should be more specific, since I have or had unusual taste in a variety of areas.
When it came to taste in clothes, I never did approach the heights - or depths - of one of my younger brothers. He is a well-dressed guy now, but as a kid he favored loudly checked sports coats and striped pants.
We have an unspoken agreement. I don't mention his excursions in bad taste in clothes and he doesn't bring up my forays into disco era styles.
With my floral print shirts, extra-wide bell-bottom trousers and platform shoes, I looked like Herman Munster on vacation in Hawaii.
I suppose I really don't have bad taste in music. It's just different; very different. My problem is that I enjoy a wide variety of music - Big Band, jazz, bluegrass, oldies, rock, Motown, Christian, classical and many more.
The problem is that I probably could not recognize the songs of more than five or six singers or groups from the past 30 years. As a result, anyone 30 years old or young will not come with two blocks of me when I am listening to music.
But I think my strangest taste is what I really taste. As with most people, I grew up thinking that everybody ate what my family ate. For example, Heinz® may have had 57 varieties, but my brothers and I were only concerned with its ketchup.
That was our universal condiment. Some days we used it every time we ate - except when we had a bowl of ice cream before bedtime. We probably would have tried it on that, but we could never find french fry-flavored ice cream.
Ketchup went well on scrambled eggs for breakfast, bologna on white bread sandwiches for lunch and meatloaf for supper.
Our strangest use of ketchup was evident on New Year's Day, when we would top our sauerkraut and mashed potatoes with a liberal dousing of the red stuff. My brothers have been married 30 or more years and their wives still haven't gotten used to that.
My one brother still is a ketchup diehard. He has had to use self-defense more than once when dealing with temperamental chefs who object to his putting ketchup on a well-cooked steak.
In our favor, we were more conservative in our use of salt. I knew a guy in college who would empty a half of salt shaker on his french fries without even tasting them first.
We used it to add a bit of flavor to hard-boiled eggs and complement the butter we spread on corn on the cob, but we usually did not go overboard.
The sugar bowl on our kitchen table had to be refilled on a daily basis, while the salt shaker went months at a time without becoming empty.
(This may explain why my blood pressure is so good and my teeth are so bad.)
The only time we abused salt was at an evening meal we occasionally ate on Sundays. Once in a while, Dad would get a taste for rye bread, cheese and scallions or spring onions.
The first two ingredients were not that unusual, but the onions were. We would pour a small pile of salt onto our plates and use that to dip the onions in. Each salt-dipped scallion would be followed by the bread and cheese.
The only eating/drinking custom that I ever saw which came close to this was in college when guys would lick salt, drink a shot of tequila and bite on a slice lime or lemon.
This did leave you with better smelling breath, but at least the rye, cheese and scallions did not cause a hangover.
Getting back to slightly less unusual tastes in food, my siblings and I were the only people I knew who used applesauce as a condiment.
A home-cooked feast featuring baked chicken, breaded pork chops or veal cutlets was not complete without an ample supply of applesauce.
The "amen" at the end of "Grace" signaled the start of a mad scramble for food as the dishes, bowls and platter made their respective ways around the table with both speed and efficiency.
Once the meat of the day was cut up, it was ready for dipping into a sea of highly "cinnamoned" applesauce. The last piece or two of meat was used to mop up the last of the apple sauce, much like bread cleans the plate of spaghetti sauce.
We usually confined our applesauce dipping to home, but my brothers and I did do it one time when our folks bravely took us to a restaurant.
The guy at the next table was highly indignant when he saw us dipping our cut-up chicken into a bowl of applesauce.
It was an honest mistake. My brothers and I thought the guy wasn't going to eat his bowl of applesauce.
(Walter Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, writes "Walt's Way" for each Sunday edition.)