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Pass the Ketchup

Ever since it was invented ketchup has been a well-loved condiment. Americans have long had a love affair with ketchup but what they have actually been eating is a condiment that is Asian. The word “ketchup” comes from an Anglicized form of “ke-tsiap” meaning fish sauce. The actual fish sauce is a pungent brown liquid used in Southeast Asian cooking but European traders who visited Asia in the 17th century also began calling the sauce ke-tsiap.

So this early condiment was actually fish sauce and the British made it by salting and fermenting anchovies. Then they began experimenting using such ingredients such as beer, mushrooms, walnuts, and oysters. By the 18th and early 19th centuries, many cooks in Britain and some in America had their own ketchup recipe. In 1812 tomatoes were introduced in the sauce and made with tomato pulp, spices, and brandy.

By the late 19th century British and American people were using tomato ketchup. In the 1870s a man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania added vinegar and sugar. His name was Henry J. Heinz and he also improved the shelf life of this condiment. This was a welcome addition and many still only use Heinz Ketchup. However, now there are many different brands of ketchup so the choice is vast.

  • Do you use ketchup on food?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you have a favorite brand?

    • Yes
    • No

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