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
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.
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 http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/sleuth/0799/#axzz1JgvA4S4Y 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.”
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 https://www.facebook.com/HeinzKetchup , whereas Heinz Ketchup UK only has 60,000 “likes”. https://www.facebook.com/HeinzKetchupUK 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 Chacha.com, “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