The sauce of sauces, the delicious history of ketchup
Can you please share a little ketchup history? I absolutely love ketchup and have enjoyed eating it on just about everything since I was a kid. The taste has seemed to have changed a lot over the years, and now when I read the list of ingredients, there are some things listed that did not use to be there! I have tried organic, and it is much better! Thanks!
In 1891, an issue of Merchant's Review boasted ketchup as the "sauce of sauces!" In 1896, The New York Tribune declared ketchup America's best condiment. It was found on every table.
But, we were not the first to use ketchup.
According to National Geographic, ketchup is actually derived from the Chinese word of the Fujian province, ke-tsiap, which is the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish.
It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China. The British encountered the sauce and brought it back to replicate.
It contained many ingredients, from mushrooms to walnuts, but lacked one important ingredient: the tomato.
Enter into the picture James Mease, scientist and horticulturist, whose published recipe for ketchup appeared in 1812 in the United States (the first recipe on record dates back to 544 A.D.).
His recipe contained tomato pulp, spices and brandy, but lacked vinegar and sugar.
While it is not clear exactly when, cane sugar and vinegar were eventually added to enhance the flavor of ketchup.
But then the changes came, and manufacturers began adding high fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn and MSG (monosodium glutamate) secretly listed in "natural flavorings."
Because of the rise of health concerns from consumers about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), some manufacturers removed the questionable HFCS and proudly announced its removal only to gradually add it back into the ingredients due to complaints of taste.
There are ketchups available now, many without HFCS, corn syrup and MSG, that taste like ketchup of years ago. Read the product list of ingredients and enjoy your squeeze of Red Lead.
Thought for the week: Why can't I be comforted by carrots? Why does it have to be chocolate or wine?
Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at email@example.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.
-By Phylis Canion