It’s the most popular condiment in America and you probably wouldn’t think of having a cookout without it. That’s right. It’s ketchup. But it hasn’t always been the tomato-based, tangy, slightly sweet dipping sauce that it is today.
The Origin of Ketchup
Asian and Indonesian societies invented the sauce we know as ketchup thousands of years ago. Back then, however, it was not a tomato-based product. Kachiap, as the Chinese called it, was a savory sauce made by brining and pickling anchovies or other fish.
British traders and merchants brought the sauce to their homeland where the name evolved to catsup, then later to ketchup. The salty fish sauce followed the colonists to America where creative New Englanders changed the recipe to include tomatoes while omitting the anchovies.
The Heinz Brand
In 1876, Henry J. Heinz developed a recipe for ketchup which he began selling to the public. America fell in love with Heinz’s bottled condiment almost immediately. Many manufacturers vied for a market share but only three major name brands succeeded: Heinz, Hunt’s, and Del Monte. Henry Heinz’s famous recipe is the same today as it was in 1876.
Some Interesting Facts about Ketchup
In the 1980′s, though never implemented ketchup was proposed as a health food in school lunch programs by the government. Here are some other interesting tidbits about ketchup:
• 97% of households in America have a bottle of ketchup in their refrigerators.
• Ketchup sales top $700 million each year.
• On average, each person in America consumes about three bottles of ketchup annually.
Ketchup is not exactly a health food by any definition, but it is used by nearly every household in the USA for cookouts. You may have been eating a lean veggie burger this past Memorial Day weekend on a whole grain bun. Sounds like a winner – until you slathered it with a thick layer of mayonnaise and ketchup. When you do this, you’re adding 100 calories or more to your “lean” burger. One tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories, and even though ketchup has only 15 calories and is fat free, it’s loaded with sugar. This is why you need to always make sure you’re factoring in condiments you use to flavor you food when you’re counting calories. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an occasional splurge, especially on Memorial Day!
So, what foods do you like to use ketchup – the king of condiments – on?