History of ketchup
Ketchup is one of those household stables that no-one seems to think much about. While researching ketchup and fine-tuning my knowledge on the topic; I continuously came across the statistic of 97% of households have ketchup. With this information, I never once could find a source for this specific number repeated on almost every site about ketchup. We'll go with it. Depending on this statistic, I am going to assume that we all know what the American version of ketchup is: a tomato based slightly thick sauce. So let's look back at the origins of ketchup. Tomato sauce would be the preferred term in Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa.
Birth land: China
The first claims to ketchup is from China. The Chinese had a concoction which was called kôe-chiap or kê-chiap. This was a sauce which was generally created from anchovies which were fermented and pickled with brine. Sometimes, it was made with shellfish as well. This sauce made its way to what is now known as Malaysia and was "discovered" by British explorers. By 1740, the English had made this a staple. India is another country that assisted in introducing the English to this watery-style sauce from China. In India this soy-type sauce is called, "ketjap" which is closer to the Chinese roots than our ketchup.
Thin and watery: Catchup
The phrasing on some bottles of ketchup that states, "Tomato Ketchup" isn't nearly as redundant as one may think. Since the origins from China of a fermented anchovy in brine-watery-soy-style sauce there have been many changes. The English tried walnut, mushroom, anchovy, oysters, and other types of catchup, as it was known during that time period. The first known recipe for ketchup was published in The Compleat Housewife, in 1727, which is considered to be the first cookbook published in the United States, although it wasn't published in the United States until 1742. This book was originally published in London, England and contained topics such as how to paint rooms and remove mildew and many other topics. The recipe for ketchup "called for anchovies, shallots, vinegar, white wine, sweet spices (cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg), pepper, and lemon peel". [source: essortment.com]
National Phenom: Jonas Yerkes
Jonas Yerkes began selling ketchup nationwide by 1837, and this was a ketchup that was made from tomatoes. Still a thin and watery version of what we have today. Some of the differences in tomato ketchup from days of old to current is because of the difference in the tomatoes that were chosen. Before the tomatoes were actually unripe and didn't have the pectin that ripe tomatoes have. The use of sodium benzoate as a preservative was common practice until 1906 when the Pure Food and Drug Act banned the use of sodium benzoate. As a note, Heinz started creating ketchup in 1876. Essortment.com does claim that the Heinz recipe has never changed, but with the Pure Food and Drug Act most all recipes did change, and the Heinz website never claimed the recipe has never changed. The reasoning behind the change is that sodium benzoate was a preservative, but if ripe tomatoes were pickled it took away the need for the preservative. Heinz is the one who responded to the Food and Drug Administration's ban in 1906 and led the way in ketchup, because of this change Heinz set the bar for all tomato ketchup to be made from then on.
Ketchup is official.
Ketchup, catsup, catchup, katsup, catsip, cotsup, kotchup, kitsip, catsoup, katshoup, katsock, cackchop, cornchop, cotpock, kotpock, kutpuck, kutchpuck and cutchpuckwere all names for ketchup at one time [source: globalgourmet.com]. During the Reagan administration there was legislation about school lunches that included "ketchup" to be a vegetable. This was not for health reasons as some will laugh about, but rather had to do more with subsidized lunches and using ketchup as an ingredient. But because of the spelling in this any producers of tomato ketchup that used one of the other names for ketchup could not sell their product to schools. Most notably hurt by this would be the Del Monte Catsup. Del Monte would end up changing the name to ketchup because of this inability to sell to schools. And henceforth, ketchup is the primary way of spelling and how one will read it in cookbooks forever more.
- In 2008, China was the primary world producer for tomatoes with 25% of the global output - 130,000,000 tons of tomatoes. [source: en.wikipedia.org]
- Heinz had different color ketchups during the years 2000 to 2006.These colors were red, green, purple, pink, orange, teal, and blue. [source: usatoday.com]
- Ketchup is slightly like wine - there are good years and bad years depending on tomato crops. [source: globalgourmet.com]
- Ketchup can be used to clean copper pots.Helps with the removal of tarnish and build up. [source: ask.com]
- Jonas Yerkes used the refuse of tomato canning-skins, cores, and green tomatoes.He was one of the first people to use sugars as well as vinegar in making ketchup. [source: essortment.com]
- Most spelling variations of ketchup are not even recognized by automated spell-checkers. [source: Chris Andrews]
- The Webster's Dictionary of 1913 defined "catchup" as a "table sauce made from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc. [Also written as ketchup]." [source: en.wikipedia.org]