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No One Else Can Say That! - Comments

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I have to tell you that your complaint reminds me of an off-mainstream news item I heard sometime back when a new law or deregulation made it possible for any carrier to get your long-distance pay phone call business. A supplemental law was passed so that when you made a pay phone long distance call, the operator had to ask you which company you wanted to use for the long distance carrier. How many people had one in mind when using a pay phone? Obviously very few. So most people would reply, "I don't care" or "It doesn't matter".

Well one particularly sneaky carrier decided to add a dba so they were officially named "I DON'T KNOW" and /or "I DON'T CARE" / "IT DOESN'T MATTER". Amusing. But sneaky.

I agree with your asessment of the ketcup label. Deceptive as hell.


I remember those long distance companies! As I recall, they had very high rates, too, so if you said "I don't care" you were paying more. -rc

re: Reagan's ruling on ketchup: even more absurd is that according to the text of the ruling, ketchup could be included as a vegetable, on hamburgers, and hot dogs, as long as it was made available to the eater of the said dogs and burgers, whether or not the item was used, or even accepted by the student eating the item.

BTW: I learned "catsup" in Ohio, where I spent all of my vacations, until college (then attended Miami Univ. of Ohio), while living in "ketchup"-oriented New York City. I think. In fact I wish that I could be sure which was learned where. Same for the "sirup" or "serup" I poured on my pancakes.


The American Heritage Dictionary (my fave) says catsup is simply a variant of ketchup, and Collins says it's mostly a U.S. variant. Ketchup is probably taken from the Malay "kechap", which means "fish sauce", which itself was probably borrowed from Cantonese, American Heritage says, and "in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar. The word is first recorded in English in 1690 in the form catchup, in 1711 in the form ketchup, and in 1730 in the form catsup." All three forms of the word are still in current use. -rc

Catsup comes from the words cat meaning, well... cat and sup meaning to dine. Hence the word Catsup (cat food).

I agree that it's vague (not to mention insipid) and should not have trademark status, but in all fairness, the trademark does apply only to ketchup. Another company can still use the phrase for any other product EXCEPT ketchup. Same as "This is True"; I can't use it for a newsletter, but I can still use it in everyday conversation. And I can still use it as a lead-in to any one particular story.

Still, ya gotta wonder about the expenditure of all that corporate money to trademark such an innocuous phrase, and the use of federal resources to research, establish, and maintain records for said innocuousness. (Yeah, I had to look it up; I tried to use "innocuosity". Maybe it was trademarked.)

Regarding the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a.k.a. SUGAR in tomato ketchup.

It is common practice to add a little sugar to tomato based sauces. It takes the edge off the acidity of the tomato. In Italian cooking, when making a tomato based sauce many people will add a small amount of sugar in the pan. About 1 teaspoon per 2 servings is what I use. Now since ketchup has vinegar, which also acidic, then a bit more sugar is required to soften the sharp taste.

I have made my own ketchup before (due to a surplus of home grown tomatoes) and the final stage was adding sugar “to taste”. I was surprised just how much was needed to make the sauce palatable. From memory it was more than a cup of sugar in about one litre of sauce, and I do not have a sweet tooth.

Well said!

Your tale reminds me of something I was told many years ago: At one time (I think in the 1950's... might have been 60's) a well known maker of television sets used in their advertisements for their television the claim: "More television stations by far use our brand of television as studio monitors than any other brand!"

The claim WAS TRUE. More TV stations DID use their brand of TV as monitors in the station than any other brand. Why? Because they made the lousiest television of all, so if their picture looked good on THIS brand of television, it could confidently be assumed to be looking good on ALL brands!

If Anthony in China thinks that High Fructose Corn Syrup is a.k.a. SUGAR, I'd hate to try his Ketchup.

I'm more likely to notice the presence of HFCS in a food product indicating to me that the manufacturer is more interested in savaging money than in the customer's health.


HFCS is a sugar. -rc

It's as good as McDonalds in Australia that stated that their burger patties were "100% Australian Beef" which is the registered name of the McDonalds owned company which processed the meat and nothing to do with the content or source of the meat.

Those of us of a pedantic disposition will think that it's a deeply stupid claim anyway.

The point is that you can't grow ketchup. You grow tomatoes, not ketchup.

Heinz is welcome, of course, to show me its ketchup trees.


They pick the bottles off the tree at the peak of ripeness! -rc

I liked this article and many of the comments. What I find most interesting is your study of the etymology of the word "Ketchup". You correctly mention the source of the word and that these sauces contained vinegar, but you neglect to mention why this was so. The reason was simple, they weren't flavoring, they were digestion aids! The acidity of the vinegar would assist in properly digesting the meal.

Today, in contrast, Ketchup is slathered on merely for taste. It's kinda sad how many condiments have devolved from useful substances with health benefits to nothing but extra, empty calories that are slathered on for no reason other than the taste. (And that's even before you consider what negative health impacts may or may not come from the HCFS and/or other chemicals that are often included.)


I can't cover every detail in every post, but indeed that's interesting. -rc

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