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23 Fascinating Facts about America’s Condiment Kings: Ketchup, Mayonnaise, and Mustard

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I come from a family of ketchup lovers. I don't know how we became one, but here we are.

We would have ketchup on hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as on cottage cheese, hard cheese, green beans, meat, fish, eggs, and an assortment of other foods. We always favored Heinz; however, when then-presidential candidate John Kerry, whose wife is the Heinz ketchup heiress, was running for president, I started to explore other brands to show solidarity with his conservative opposition. I even bought an unnamed generic brand at Walmart, and it was just as good, and a lot cheaper.

Ketchup

1. Ketchup wasn't always red! When you go shopping for ketchup now it's easy to spot the bright red bottles. However, when it was invented it was sort of brown, and it wasn't until the 19th century that it began to be made with tomatoes.

The Chinese, the industrious inventors of so many western items like gunpowder and paper, created the ancient form of ketchup as well.

The word ketchup is derived from the Chinese ke-tsiap, a pickled fish sauce. It made its way to the Malay Archipelago, where it became ketchup or ketjup (in Indonesian). The Chinese product was more like soy sauce.

In another version, in 300 B.C. texts began documenting the use of fermented pastes made from fish entrails, meat byproducts and soybeans. The fish sauce, called “koe-cheup” by speakers of the Southern Min dialect, was easy to store on long ocean voyages. It spread along trade routes to Indonesia.