‘The best things come to those who wait’ – Heinz Ketchup advertising slogan, 1987
The other night I was thinking about ketchup. Again. Yes, I’ve contemplated ketchup many times. Whereas my kids grew up where ranch dressing was the bomb – my childhood was rocked with ketchup.
Heinz ketchup to be precise. Oh, Mom tried to save money a few times and snuck in some Hunt’s or IGA brand. However, Dad was always the final authority on that bit of domestic minutia, and we went right back to Heinz.
Back in the day, Heinz ketchup was in a glass bottle. The instant satisfaction people have nowadays when they squeeze that plastic receptacle? No such thing. As the classic television commercials from the 1970s so aptly sing, it was all about the “anticipation.” A spank on the bottom of the ketchup bottle and then … watch and wait. Finally, a glob of thick, sweet, tomatoey goodness would plop out onto your plate … or maybe the floor … or perhaps too much would come out, if there was such a thing. I learned early on that a butter knife to the side of the opening would help the flow a bit.
My older brother hates ketchup. I don’t really understand it, but he says my dad would make scrambled eggs for him and my oldest brother when they were little … and dump ketchup in the whole batch. My older brother loves his savory food savory, not sweet. (By the way, Steve is an excellent maker of hand-cut and pan-fried French fries. There are none like them. I eat them without ketchup. Always. They are just so good on their own). My dad certainly loved ketchup, but since my brothers are soooooo much older than I am, I don’t remember the eggs incidents, or my dad every gracing the stove/oven for anything other than cinnamon rolls and pickle-making, for that matter.
For me, ketchup has never been something I have had to have. But I do like it. I have a difficult time eating meat loaf or scrambled eggs without it. I like it on tacos and hash browns. I will sometimes eat it on a cheeseburger (but usually not one with pepper jack) and fries. I usually only eat ketchup on fries if I don’t think they’re very tasty on their own.
Heinz has been selling ketchup since 1876. Have you ever wondered why it’s sometimes spelled catsup? Apparently, Henry John Heinz adapted his ketchup recipe from a Chinese sauce called Cat Sup.
Heinz started his business in Pennsylvania. The company is now owned by Kraft. You have probably seen the “57 varieties” underneath the Heinz Ketchup label and thought maybe it contained 57 ingredients. Turns out, Mr. Heinz just liked those numbers and felt they were lucky. I would have to say he was right. More than 650 million bottles of Heinz Ketchup are sold around the world each year in more than 140 countries, with annual sales of more than $1.5 billion.
I had a friend in high school who put ketchup in her mac and cheese. I had never heard of that. I’ve baby-sat kids who dipped their carrots in in. I read on-line people commonly put ketchup on fried chicken, pot roast, potato chips, pasta, pancakes and even ice cream.
Free Press readers recently weighed in on their ketchup preferences via a Facebook post:
* Becky Sorensen: Heinz only!! French fries, burgers, meat loaf, roast. You are nuts - tacos? [referring to my post saying I eat ketchup on tacos.]
* Don Drew Weisz: Heinz is the best! It’s always the one I buy.
*Jen Huntley: Yuck. But I do put it on the rare meat loaf I make for the hubby. But ick. Ketchup is weird. I love tomato soup, fry sauce and I like a red beer -- so why don't I like ketchup?
* Laura Barrett: Sriracha! Or salsa. I outgrew ketchup a while ago, and am glad I did. Way too much sugar, and I like to taste my food, not the sauce.
* Mindy Ward Thorp: Don’t worry Lorie, I eat ketchup on tacos, too. And, yes, Heinz is the best. But not on my eggs. Lol. Burgers, fries, hot dogs, too. Good stuff.
* Teresa R. Vietz: Heinz and only on FF.
* Deborah Leanne: Heinz. Nothing else will do. I agree with Teresa, on French fries.
* Angela Morin Abshere: Heinz only for the brand and I love it on meat loaf, French fries and to dip my grilled cheese in.
*Reyna Phil: Ketchup is spicy to me.
*Janice Grumley: Heinz ketchup on liver, burgers and fries.
*Steve Kazella: Whataburger spicy ketchup!
*Gail Stowers: One of my basic food groups...only Heinz though!
*Gillie Perkins: Must have on meat loaf, dip my fries and my grilled cheese sandwich in it.
*Leslie Vopat: Yuck goes for all ketchup. It’s ok mixed with mayo for fry sauce.
*Kurt Killgore: I love ketchup, but I only will buy "Simply Heinz." It tastes the same, if not better, and there is no high fructose corn syrup in it!
*Kimberle Lybyer Million: Most of the time can take it or leave it. On a hot dog, however, it must be a part of “the works.”
*Lynn Cook: I could live without it. Rarely use it, but I do like it on scrambled eggs. Now Ranch dressing, that’s a whole other story ... lol.
*Nikkoal Kantner: Tacos? Ketchup on tacos? There's this other thing called salsa or hot sauce that goes pretty well with tacos! Lol. When I was little, I'd put it on mac -n- cheese and mashed potatoes!
*Melody Plisky: Definitely Heinz or nothing. Hamburgers, meat loaf and fries.
*Megan McDonald: I will gladly put ketchup on just about everything. OK, maybe not everything... But all of the things you listed for sure! I don’t discriminate on type though. I even enjoy the no sugar added or sugar free.
*Lori Crabtree: My husband would drink it if he could get away with it (like I could ranch). He claims, “it's just tomatoes, and those are good for me!" I used to like it only on hamburgers and hot dogs and couldn't really tell the difference in brands when eaten that way. But my naturopath put it on a list of top 20 things to get out of my kitchen. I avoid it now because I'd rather choose something else to be addicted to, like ranch or garlic butter.
*Jessica Wells: I thought “Heinz only” for years, then I tried Portland brand. It is pretty dang good and a lot less sugar. I like it on eggs.
*Hailey Kenna Russell: Ketchup is nasty.
*Debra Ewing: Heinz! Absolutely. French fries without ketchup are like a day without sunshine!
*Jolene Rupp: My husband eats it on everything, and I shudder because I feel he is drowning the great taste of food!
*Teresa Lamb-Ramirez: I like it, but I do not eat it anymore -- too much sugar. When we were kids, sometimes we had “ketchup ronies” as a side dish. (Redneck lol). Pasta with ketchup as a light sauce. It was good and surprisingly a little spicy.
*Phyllis Gilmore: Hunts is my favorite. I make Thousand Island dressing with it. I like it the best.
*Cody Edwards: Is it strange to dip Doritos chips in ketchup? Curious if I am the only one? And definitely meat loaf.
*Gretta Killgore: Rick dipped potato chips in ketchup all the time.
*Avery A Russell: Well, since you’re my mom, I can definitely confirm I have grown up putting ketchup on my tacos -- lol -- and it’s delicious! I also like ketchup on eggs, burgers, hot dogs, fries, hash browns and nuggets. And yes, Heinz only. My favorite ketchup ever is the Jalapeño Heinz.
*Nona Donaldson: I am with Avery, I like ketchup on tacos! Heinz is probably the best.
*Jean Calman: I use the Simply Heinz ketchup. I like it on several things, but not everything!
*Brenda Sue Cowley: Hate it! Since childhood! It felt like a punishment. However, I had an uncle who worked for a mustard company, and when he saw my pain, introduced me to mustard as the condiment of choice! When it comes to mustard, “Portland mustard” has become my hands-down favorite! However, I’m not picky! As long as it’s yellow, and says the word “mustard,” I’m a very happy person indeed!
*Stephanie Jordan: Ketchup on spaghetti is the bomb diggity, but how do you pronounce it! Ketchup (me) or catsup (my mother-in-law)? I am very fond of the red sauce.