Quite often in my meanderings through the internet, I click on a random link on the sidebar at Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin. I typically find myself reading comics commentary, and have found quite a few decent comic blogs that I read with regularity. However, today I came across an entry about, of all things, ketchup; entertaining, sure, but not what I was expecting. This is the entirety of the entry (cut and pasted, no offense to Blogger Erich):
At dinner the other night, it occurred to me...every ketchup (or catsup, whichever spelling you prefer) bottle I've ever seen has read "[insert brand name here] Tomato Ketchup." Which got me thinking...is there any other kind of ketchup besides tomato? I suppose it's theoretically possible to subject any number of fruits and vegetables to the ketchuping process, but I've never heard of it being done...
Putting aside the fact that I now really enjoy the word “ketchuping”, it got me interested in reading up on the quintessentially American condiment (and enjoyed thoroughly here north of the 49th as well). It has a long and convoluted history, which people don’t seem to be able to agree on. Ketchup actually used to be a general term for sauce, and used to be made of mushrooms or fish brine, but most people know the traditional tomato-based variety (although there are MANY other versions). The word itself might have an etymological origin in the Amoy dialect of Chinese, or in Malayan. It’s an essential component in Thousand Island dressing and BBQ sauces. People use it on almost everything: scrambled eggs (the very thought of which makes me shudder and feel slightly nauseous), French fries, macaroni & cheese, fried chicken, baked potatoes, steak, fish, tacos, rice, onion rings, and of course, hamburgers and hot dogs.
EXCEPT. And this is where I really got confused. Apparently, hot dog “aficionados” insist that you should never dress your hot dog with ketchup. Apparently, it ruins the flavour. Now, I don’t know about you people out there, but I’ve eaten my fair share of hot dogs in my time, roasted over the fire, boiled, grilled, roasted; home-made, from the best vendor in Edmonton, and even at the movie theaters. I can’t honestly say that hot dogs have a flavour that you could ruin with the addition of sugar, salt, and tomatoes. In fact, my favourite hot dog topping would be ketchup, mustard, onions, and sauerkraut. Sure, you don’t want to kiss me after I have a couple, but then again, you probably don’t want to kiss me before I have a couple either. Am I crazy? Has anyone ever heard of this anti-ketchup brigade before? What do you put on your hot dogs? Enquiring Docs want to know.