The Big Ketchup Conspiracy
“I’m not a person who writes really abstract things with oblique references. I look at abstraction like I look at condiments. Give me some Tabasco sauce, some ketchup, some mayonnaise. I love all of that. Put it on a trumpet. I’ve just got to have the ketchup and Tabasco sauce. That’s my attitude about musical philosophy.”- Wynton Marsalis
I absolutely love, really love, ketchup. which is why I went crazy for this bottle of bacon ketchup. I photographed it and tweeted it out to the world. For some that may be a bit low brow considering that people now profess to love, wasabi, pesto, and chipotle sauce, just to name a few. Ketchup is the thing of children and adults should display more refined taste. There is a hoity toity restaurant in Florida, for instance, that bans all types of ketchup and demands that you sample some of his other concoction condiments as he studied in France and thus he knows better. Sadly, he is not the only one that has taken a dislike to ketchup.
I am not a big fan of McDonald’s. I had some in November while on a business road trip where food was hard to find between the 200 mile interstate highway stretches. My tummy was not super thrilled. However, I surprisingly, like their Latte. Anyway, I noticed then that they only give you one little thing of ketchup. My son, when he orders a happy meal, gets two things of ketchup if he is lucky. Who has just a smidgen of ketchup when they are eating a burger and fries. Restaurants in New York have done the same thing to me. I shamelessly ask for more ketchup.
I take a perverse delight in asking for gobs of ketchup. Ketchup is one sure way of making sure everything is alright with the universe. Chef Michael Mina captured the beauty of ketchup quite well when he remarked that “From a young age, I understood the idea of balanced flavor – the reason you put ketchup on a hamburger. I was that kid who wouldn’t eat something if there was something missing. I never really understood it until I began cooking professionally, balancing acids, sweets, spicy flavors and fat.”
Yes, I eat ketchup. As a matter of fact, I often joke that I will take a burger with my ketchup. There. There is no shame in liking ketchup. It seems to me that the last ten years, ever since Mr. John Kerry ran for US President and lost, some have decided to turn their noses up at ketchup. Of course, ketchup is still tops in terms of condiments. Only mayonnaise tops it. Ugh. Now mayonnaise I do not get it. Admittedly, I turn my nose up at mayonnaise unless it has some chipotle or wasabi in it. Hmm. I may have to rethink this mayonnaise dislike.However, not anything soon. I’m a ketchup girl through and through.
Anyway, back to my conspiracy idea. See, John Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz. Yes, that Heinz! Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a brand of ketchup produced by the H. J. Heinz Company that started in 1876. In 2004 or so, Heinz had the highest score of any food or beverage firm, higher than Kraft, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé in a US survey of companies. Ketchup is beloved by the people. Why then are so many places, even McDonald’s, being stingy with the ketchup? If only John Kerry had won the Presidency, ketchup might have been subsidized. Does it not seem strange to anyone, that ketchup starting appearing gauche right around that time? Admittedly, Dirty Harry started hating on ketchup way before 2004. Did you ever watch the scene where Dirty Harry complains about ketchup on hot dogs? Harry notes “I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.” Well, Mr Eastwood (I mean Dirty Harry) I do and I am over the age of 18.
It’s time for the people to rise up and profess their love of ketchup so those that in the cooking power and elites stop trying to deny us our sweet tangy bit. Some may think it is low-brow but it sure is beloved and quite yummy. If it makes me seem less than an adult or less than a South Beach wanna be-so be it!
“It is time to embrace and celebrate ketchup, not be ashamed of it“. — Jose Andres Puerta
P.S. I also love, love salsa. But that is a post for another day.
PS. PS. Here is a photo of “Bad Cat” wine from a winery in West Virginia. It too, probably, won’t be beloved by the French Florida Restaurateur but give it a try if you ever come across it