Ketchup Is the Worst Condiment
Our culinary director takes a stand.
Photo by Flickr user Javier Webar
Fuck your homemade ketchup. Let's all just take a moment to recognize that it's just not that good. It's a little too sweet, not quite as smooth as we want, and the color is too dull.
Ok maybe I'm just a pro-Heinz asshole. And that is true. Heinz is the benchmark of ketchups. Walk into any fast food restaurant, ballpark, or diner and you'll see it there, sealed up in those little red and white packets that are impossible to open, or at the condiment station in a big plastic bucket with a pump, perched next to the mustard and mayo, or sitting on the table at the corner booth in its glass bottle, 57 emblazoned on the side, just waiting for you to tip it over and tap it on the bottom to cover your grass-fed beef burger.
But if I'm being really honest—and I'd like to think that I am—I don't actually like ketchup at all. It's easily the worst condiment. Give me mayo or mustard or Thousand Island any day of the week. (PS did you know that Thousand Island got its name because all of the little chunks of pickles in it are like islands?) So, actually, fuck ketchup.
It might be me, though. Rewind to my childhood summers spent at my grandparents' house in Massachusetts. Mornings were spent watching Zoobilee Zoo on the screened-in porch while eating bowls of Rice Krispies (why couldn't anyone ever just buy me the shitty sugary cereal?), although every so often we would sit around the table with the adults over eggs. One such morning, after consuming a plate of scrambled eggs, I vomited right there at the table.
From then on in my life, I could absolutely not bear to eat scrambled eggs.
Fast forward. I'm 16, I'm babysitting for two kids. Their parents typically had frozen chicken cordon bleu in the freezer, which I would microwave. Sometimes it was Kraft mac and cheese (the kind that was single-serve and microwaveable). I was not a cook then.
One of them—I can't remember who—asked me to cook eggs for them one night. Remember, I wasn't a cook then. But I did it. I scrambled them some eggs. How hard could it be? Not hard at all. But the thing that totally weirded me out was when they asked for ketchup with their eggs.
I could not have been more disgusted. I mean, like I said, I didn't like eggs and I sure as shit didn't like ketchup.
But my curiosity got the best of me, and I thought maybe the flavor of the ketchup would mask the terrible taste (and smell) of the eggs? But mainly I was curious as to whether or not I could cook, I think.
And so I tried the eggs. With the ketchup. And you know what? It tasted pretty dope. I was into it. I really liked it. Why do eggs and ketchup taste so good together? I have no clue, but I'll tell you what: This historic moment in my life is maybe what got me into cooking.
So in conclusion, thank you, Heinz, for inspiring me to become a chef. Oh, and don't forget, kids: Never ever make homemade ketchup.