Ketchup, Catsup, Smacks Up, Smash Nuts

Last night I heard a most interesting fact: a Gallapagos turtle moves faster than ketchup slides out of the Heinz glass bottle.


I have no idea why anyone would compare turtles and ketchup, but I was intrigued. Since I was on my way home from a special date with Dos where she literally drank ketchup straight from the individual plastic package, I guess it’s fair to say I had ketchup on my mind.


Ketchup became worthy of a Google search or two. And here’s what I discovered:


1. There is a bottle of ketchup in 97% of American homes. That officially makes it the most popular condiment in the U.S. Not saying that mustard, ranch dressing, or sauerkraut aren’t worthy of an honorable mention, but what can really compare to a condiment that doubles as fake blood when necessary?!


2. We stole ketchup from Asia. Indonesian and Asian culture invented what we know today as ketchup. The spicy, pickled fish sauce dating back thousands of years was called “ke-tsiap” or “kecap” and popular in 17th-century China. British seamen brought “ke-tsiap” home with them where the name was changed to catchup and then finally ketchup.


3. Orignal ketchup (catsup), did not contain tomatoes until the 1700s. It did, however, contain anchovies, walnuts, mushrooms and kidney beans. Early versions were even made of blueberries, lemons and grape. I think I speak for all of us when I give a, “hear! hear!” for that recipe change.


4. Not all ketchup is created equal. Similar to wine, there are good and bad years for ketchup flavors depending on tomato harvest. You can also get the same nutritional value as a ripe, medium-sized tomato from four tablespoons of ketchup. (Assuming it’s a nutritious year.)


5. There are NO preservatives in ketchup. That’s because the natural acidity in the condiment is sufficient to give it a long shelf life. Ketchup can also remove tarnish from copper pots and pans… so I’m thinking it’s similar to Coca-Cola, which doubles as a nice acidic compound when needed. Just think of what it’s doing to your gastrointestinal track.


6. Ketchup was categorized as a vegetable to meet school lunch criteria in the 1980s. This fact, combined with the truth ketchup is composed of 25% sugar, brings a whole new understanding on our country’s problems with childhood obesity, now, doesn’t it?! Leave no child behind, especially in the lunchroom…


7. Ketchup consumption style reveals your personality type. I’ve heard tales of small habits revealing personality traits, but the ketchup litmus test is new to me. Psychologist Donna Dawson has identified “sauciological” types:

  • Those who dunk into a well of ketchup are methodical and trustworthy, but may also be control freaks who are afraid of change.
  • Ambitious people splodge their sauce in the middle of their food.
  • Creative types squirt and swirl their sauce in thin lines but deep down they are impatient and do not tolerate fools or time wasting.
  • Those who dot their ketchup are friendly, but live conservatively and dream of adventure holidays.
  • Smotherers are the life and soul of the party, while artists who draw faces and words on their food have an easy-going approach to life.
  • Finally, gourmets who keep ketchup in a cruet appear charming, but deep down may be snobbish social charmers.


8. Ketchup is responsible for at least one feline hair-dying escapade. Del Monte’s jingle “Even Cats like our Catsup!” drew a lawsuit from one customer who overfed it to her cat, causing it to have stomach problems and hair with an unnatural red-orange glow. The case ended with a million-dollar settlement and two years of free hair dying for the cat. Because every one knows a cat with a dye job is a “haughty” cat.


9. Each ketchup bottle sports its birth date. To find out the bottling date on Heinz Ketchup, look at the cap to find a four-digit number. The first three digits indicate the day (each day being giving a corresponding number from 1 to 365), while the fourth digit indicates the year. This is known as the Julian method of dating. Newer codes use a number for the year, followed by a letter for the month (A through M with I omitted), then two digits for the day of the month.


10. Ketchup is a bomb. Storing opened ketchup in a heated environment (like direct sunlight or a kitchen that is constantly hot) can invite fermentation which can actually cause a minor explosion when opening the container. The explosion makes the ketchup squirt out when opened which probably won’t be harmful to you, but it will make quite a mess and stain your clothing. Discard any ketchup that shows signs of fermentation.


Now, aren’t we all glad we took this little trip through ketchup-ville? I certainly am. Now, go out an consume some tomato pasty stuff. It’s yummy!

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: