Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Blog about Ketchup


A couple of months ago, I came across an interesting article on ketchup. As you can read at the top, the problem with ketchup is that it hasn't changed in over 100 years. In fact with the thought:
Mustard now comes in dozens of varieties. Why has ketchup stayed the same?


Some suggestion with the exception of the introduction of the squeeze bottle, ketchup is ketchup, so why is it still the same?

This is a good question, I don't know about the dozens but certainly mustard is no longer simply French's Mustard, the yellow condiment that went so well with hot dogs. I know of at least two other, only because I happen to use two of them regularly on my sandwiches One is honey mustard and the other is dijon mustard. Both add different flavours to the sandwiches and so they are good, and prove you can add something new to something familiar and have a winner.

The problem with ketchup is its sameness. There has been no real change since Department of Agrilculture ordered the removal of sodium benzoate. This was a preservative and many thought it wasn't the best thing to eat. By the way, if you read the article, one of the great improvements of ketchup was the addition of vinegar, which allowed for the use of riper tomatoes and therefore improved flavour and thickness of our favourite condiment.

I wonder though if the article is not fair, ketchup has experienced an evolution, its just not kept the same name. For example, there are all sorts of Hot Sauce, which while not having tomatoes, can be said to be part of the ketchup family. I say this because most hot sauces started as chili sauce, which was a tomato based product, which actually didn't have much of a kick to it. Then there is Cocktail Sauce, which goes so well with shrimp cocktail. It is ketchup with horseradish and tastes so good.

Then there is what I believe is now the most popular of all condiments, Salsa. Finally, a condiment that has the right combination of tomato and chili peppers, a delicious mix that if the chunky variety is fantastic. You can read about the history of salsa here.

But there is hope, for Howard Moskowitz decided to make a better ketchup. His brand is the "World's Greatest Ketchup". He is the man responsible for changing the world of spaghetti sauce.

However even he realizes one thing about ketchup:
I guess ketchup is ketchup.


Perhaps, as one person suggested to me, ketchup is such the perfect food, it can't change. Perhaps that ultimately true.

Or has the change led to other variations and types with the original being the keeper of the name.

I should say this blog was inspired after I made my sandwich for tomorrow's lunch; a ham and turkey sandwich with cheese and lettuce, and dijon mustard.

1 comment:

Ian McKenzie said...

Ketchup was originally a fish sauce from Asia, most likely called kicap from the Malay. It showed up in the English language around the end of the 17th century. Early English recipes for ketchup were more like Worcestershire Sauce. I think it was the Americans who came up with tomato ketchup.

There's a restaurant here in Edmonton that makes its own ketchup. It is a quantum level better in taste than the average store-bought stuff. :)