Could you tell me what you call salt, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, miso, pepper and so on as a whole? Do you call them "seasoning"?


As Alan Sutherland said, "condiments" - "a substance, such as salt, that you add to food to improve its taste" is one word. Another one is "flavoring" - "something that is added to food or drink to give it a particular taste".

There's a subtle difference between the three words (seasoning, flavoring and condiments):

  1. Seasoning - a loose definition of this term is: "a substance, such as salt, that you add to food to improve its taste". The seasoning is a flavor enhancer rather than a flavoring. So, basically, seasoning is not intended to actually change the flavor of a food, but simply to bring out the flavor or enhance it. Seasonings are generally added to food at the end of its cooking cycle and do not require heat for the full effect. This is what is meant by "check for seasoning".
  2. Flavoring - It is an ingredient that significantly changes the flavor of a food or dish. Bacon, ham, sausages, alcohol, vegetables, fruits, sauces and spices are common flavoring ingredients. Flavoring ingredients are added at any time during cooking. The difference between seasoning and flavoring is the amount of the ingredient that is used.
  3. Condiments - These are added to a dish to complement its flavor. Often they are prepared mixes such as mustard or soy sauce. Condiments are mostly edible food items which are additions to a dish or meal.

Condiments is an umbrella term which takes in such items as sauces, spreads, vinegars, flavoured and unflavoured oils, relishes and pickled items: some people broaden the term to include spice mixes, pepper and finishing salts. Some definitions include simple slices of vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, etc. (Source)

You may find this ELU question interesting - What is the subtle difference between condiment, seasoning and flavoring?

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Seasoning is close, but we'd normally call them condiments

A condiment is a spice, sauce, or preparation that is added to food to impart a particular flavor, to enhance its flavor, or in some cultures, to complement the dish Wikipedia

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  • I wouldn't call salt a condiment. – ColleenV Nov 10 '17 at 13:35
  • well wikipedia does... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condiment – Pixelomo Nov 11 '17 at 10:13
  • Yeah, sorry my comment was too terse. I see that it's classified that way, but salt and pepper are seasonings to me and not what springs to mind as a "condiment" like ketchup. After thinking about it, I suppose if it's on the table to be added after cooking, it's a condiment and if it's added during cooking, it's a seasoning, so salt could be either depending on the context. – ColleenV Nov 11 '17 at 12:31
  • yeah totally agree, good way to define it. I wouldn't consider salt a condiment but that was the first word that sprung to mind for the question and when I checked wiki I was surprised to see salt categorised as one – Pixelomo Nov 12 '17 at 13:35

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