Happy National Ketchup Day: the history of America's most popular condiment
How will you celebrate the greatest condiment of all time?
Kids love it. Adults love it. Everyone loves it. Many people I know put it on everything, including noodles, mac and cheese, rice... some are criticized for over use.
Regardless of your opinion, ketchup is hands-down the most popular condiment here in the States. In fact, we buy some 650 million bottles every year.
I actually have one spacial bottle given to me as a gift. To be honest, I don't eat a lot of the stuff, but I do keep this one in my office.
The amazing history of ketchup
Have you ever wondered where or how this tomato-based condiment came to be? Interestingly, ketchup has a long and mixed history.
In the early days of America, there was very little concern for food safety. Sadly it wasn't uncommon for dishonest shop owners to sell meat and other items to their customers that were going bad, and in some cases not even safe to eat. To offset this not so flavorful issue, most shop owners also sold catchup, sometimes called ketchup. This thick sauce that derived from a Chinese pickled fish sauce and was used to hide the off flavor than anything else. There was no standard for this condiment, it could be made from anything, with any assortment of ingredients.
F. & J. Heinz Company
In 1876, the F. & J. Heinz Company began selling “tomato ketchup,” and it was a big hit. Then others started to sell tomato ketchup in name only. This was bad for the Heinz company because they were competing against other companies that didn't use fresh products and could under cut the cost. So Mr. Heinz sent his son to Washington DC: his task was to lobby Congress for strict standards to ensure the American people were getting safe wholesome foods for the family dinner table.
The efforts of the Heinz company was instrumental in developing what today we call the FDA (Federal Food and Drug administration).
Today, June 5th, we celebrate ketchup as not only the top condiment of America, but the first to have a national standard.
Identity --(1) Definition. catsup, ketchup, or catchup is the food prepared from one or any combination of two or more of the following optional tomato ingredients: