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Must I “friend” my ketchup

Burns: “Ketchup.. catsup.. ketchup.. catsup… I’m in way over my head”  The Simpsons

I use French fries as a means of administering my favorite drug – ketchup.  I love ketchup on eggs, chicken, steak, tube steaks (aka hot dogs), just about

Both bottles in the house the same amount of time, what does that tell you!

anything though I try to hide my weakness at upscale dinners. A ketchup monogomist,  I only love one ketchup – Heinz, original.  Went to a Nashua, NH restaurant famous for its homemade ketchup and after tasting thought:  “eh, why bother when perfection is just a plastic (and recyclable) squeeze bottle away.” When I go to the local sandwich shop, they know how they must prepare my order if I indulge in a side of fries – chuck the little packets and fill up two (2) side salad dressing cups with ketchup.  Someone who shall remain nameless brought “reduced sugar” Heinz (a paler version both figuratively and literally) into our home and was sent right back out to get the real stuff.  It’s not Hunts or DelMonte, nor any gourmet brand and certainly no generic stuff.  I love one ketchup and one spelling of ketchup only – Heinz.

Heart made with Heinz reduced sugar variety - gotta use it for something

If you’ve ever worked in restaurants, you may know the phrase – “Marry the Ketchup”.  And way back when I worked in restaurants I did this under duress.  While I love ketchup, I don’t “love love” ketchup, and so this isn’t what you may think.  Marrying the ketchup meant blending two or more partially filled bottles to make one full one.  I’d like to think this practice has been banned, but don’t know for sure.  The problem with this practice is that:   a) disgusting people can put weird things in readily available bottles and this increases the spread potential of the weirdness, b) each bottle has a distinct flavor of its own based on when it was produced and how sweet the tomatoes were at that time, and c) ketchup can ferment. Any intelligent being who has ever squirted a covering slick of ketchup-gone-bad over an entire food order will immediately adopt the puddle and dip method of ketchup application that is not only tidier, but also has the side benefit of producing a greater ketchup to food ratio.  In my mind, this ketchup practice demonstrates forethought, intelligence and practicality, but the Culinary Sleuth feature on the Global Gourmet website has some “must be true because it’s on the web” facts about ketchup practices that may differ from my personal and untrained psychological opinion, and in the spirit of largesse I will reveal those here. 

“Secret Lives of Ketchup Lovers

If you want to learn the more about a person, look no further than how they pour their ketchup. From dippers and squirters, to sprinklers and smotherers, psychologist Donna Dawson has identified seven “sauciological” types.

Those who dunk into a well of ketchup are methodical and trustworthy. But they 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. And gourmets who keep ketchup in a cruet appear charming, but deep down may be snobbish social charmers.”

Heinz Ketchup Rally Call

Now here’s the thing, as much as I love Heinz Ketchup I don’t want to be its friend. And yes Heinz Ketchup has a FaceBook fan page; it was advertised on my last bottle that asked Heinz Ketchup Lovers to Unite.  Against what – is someone trying to outlaw ketchup?  For what? Are they going to tell me some “add ketchup” recipe?  I’m a purist, it’s straight or nothing. Do I want to read missives on big ketchup love from 582,000 fans? Get serious.  Are they going to give me cents-off coupons (I buy a big bottle, the coupons will expire before I need them and the time it would take me to declutter the coupon stash and find them when needed is definitely worth more than the $0.50 they might offer.)  A staggering 582,000 people like the Heinz Ketchup  FB page , whereas Heinz Ketchup UK only has 60,000 “likes”.  But that could be because in the UK they have a black label with reverse type (which any art dept will tell you, isn’t the best design), and, they promote the limited edition version made with balsamic vinegar to which I am compelled to point out – NO ONE is looking for change in a product they’ve been loving since 1869. Did you learn nothing from the “New Coke” debacle?  The only worthwhile bit of “dish” I got from the page (and I got that without friending) is that there is a 3x larger packet size for commercial and sandwich shop use.  Still not as big as a dressing-on-the-side cup, but heading in the right direction.

So maybe the problem is the English language….maybe having only one word to encompass the myriad variations of love that exist in our lives (according to, “Sanskrit has 96 words for love, Persian has 80, Greek has three and English only one”) sent the mixed message that my ketchup love is bigger than can be confined to mealtimes.  For that I apologize for the shortcomings of my first language.  Heinz Ketchup, I do “love” you; I just don’t want to be with you ALL THE TIME.

©2011 by Alison Colby-Campbell

13 thoughts on “Must I “friend” my ketchup”

  1. If someone could get rich from writing a ridiculous song on “Muskrat Love” and seriously no one but another muskrat or hungry coyote loves a muskrat, I’d like to think there may be some remuneration for the being the voice of the people, and professing big Heinz Ketchup love, but even if there isn’t, I had to call ’em as I see em, I am after all, a journalistic blogger.


  2. LOL! I too go NUTS when I get small ketchup packets for my fries….always need 10-15 packets for every order of fries …even small orders…..all restaurants should have ketchup dispensers so you can fill up a container and not worry about squeezing out 3 packets for 4-5 fries!!!!


  3. Another nice write. Lots to comment on here, but I’ll try to keep it short. I think you should allow some grace to the British; don’t they usually put vinegar on their fries? Regardless, ketchup In Britain is a totally different condiment, ingrediently. But then Heinz UK also puts out a product called “spotted dick”, which I will not comment any further on. (check out The British Store in Newburyport for confirmation.) Meanwhile les habtants du Quebec use brown gravy on pomme frites, non? And I have a brother who used to put mayo on them, but I’m digressing more about fries than ketchup.

    Ketchup actually has a long and storied history for those who wish to research further. And, as you know, the Catchup Advisory Board (spelling correct) promotes the “mellowing agents” of ketchup as a major sponsor of “A Prairie Home Companion”.

    Even avowed Commmunists appreciate ketchup for it’s color, as a symbol of the continuing workers struggle agains international bourgeois forces, if nothing else.

    But for me, I simply have an continuing, abiding respect for ketchup. It does what it’s supposed to do without complaint or complications. And who can’t appreciate that?


  4. Kelli and Jon – I knew this was a topic of widespread interest!

    So how do you apply your ketchup – are the characteristics attributed to people who apply as you do accurate???

    Ketchup – it’s what’s for dinner!


    1. There’s a big difference in the application process depending on whether you have a glass bottle, plastic squeeze jug, little packets or the “county fair” pump. It doesn’t matter what you do to a glass bottle, it still takes it’s own sweet time dribbling out (Remember the Carly Simon “Anticipation” Heinz ketchup commercial?). Whereas the little packets are very versatile; even to the point where you might need a criminal forensics expert to determine the splatter pattern.


  5. Did you see the satirical piece in the Onion about a year ago about the “area man” whose life is entirely dominated by his obsessive devotion to mustard? I myself went through a phase where I regarded hotdogs as nothing more than a delivery vehicle for mustard and relish. So I can certainly relate to this week’s topic.


  6. I never saw the mustard article in the Onion, I haven’t visited that site in a while and I used to love it; great reminder to go back. French’s Mustard page has only 179 likes, , Grey Poupon has 587 but it does not appear to be company sanctioned as it has lots of naughty messages on it,(gross and I used to like the stuff). Mustand can’t hold a candle to ketchup


  7. Ahhh the wonder of ketchup and how it magically makes so many other foods taste better, well for me. Perhaps a page for those of us who can put ketchup on literally everything, well that merits ketchup in some form or fashion. I haven’t yet tried it on cereal. But I have put it on toast, yes. Poor man’s lunch and pizza. Ha! And I know someone who tried making ketchup ice cream. Unfortunately I don’t know how it came out. Some other brave soul will need to try it. Here in the south I got frowns for putting ketchup on my eggs and on hotdogs for some reason.

    Thank you Jon for adding the “Catchup Advisory Board” and the creativity of Garrison Keillor.

    And just to add to my FB post, I’m also dying for a good ole frappe. Not a ketchup one though. Chocolate. Sad to say places like Richardson’s or my favorite, The Junction are not easily found here in Atlanta. What a wonderful memories of healthy eating!! Out to Woodman’s Eat in the Rough for fried shrimp, fries onion rings, smothered in ketchup and that tangy version of ketchup with horse radish they use for the shrimp, cocktail sauce and then pass by The Junction and somehow manage a banana boat or frappe. LOL. But I didn’t get fat in those days. Got fat working in a corporate office. We’ll save that for another post. The good news, I’m no longer fat, or employed LOL in a corporate office.


  8. I’m a dunker because I generally prefer my fries served with just salt, so will only dunk on occasion. Though I may be trustworthy, I am not methodical. But I do hate change, so hey.

    I respect your decision to draw the line at ‘friending’ a ketchup. I am yet to venture into the world of ‘liking’ products. It’s enough that I like them in real life without having to acknowledge this virtually. Oh and our ketchup bottles here in England are the same as yours. I haven’t seen black labels (they only have those on beans and things), it’s black lettering on white.

    Part of the reason why there are less likes here in the UK might well be that although we eat fast food here, it’s not as big a culture as it is in America. And people mostly consume ketchup with fast food so that may have something to do with it. I’m just making a random stab here, I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, just an interested person.


      1. I had to check this out. You’re right, there is a picture with white on black, it was the limited edition balsamic vinegar one (dunno if they still do it). You may be interested to learn that Heinz UK is now on 248k likes since you wrote your article. We’re ketching up (sorry, had to).


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