Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Story of Ketchup

Today I'm writng about ketchup. I guess what got me started on it was the fact that I was having lunch at a restaurant. At a nearby table a young, and I should say adorable, little girl asked her father to hand her the ketchup. She wanted to put it on her hot dog (one of the kids meal options at this place) The gentleman, presumably her father, wouldn't let het have any. He told her she couldn't put ketchup on hot dogs, only mustard. The child was not happy with this revelation. She sat there and sulked, probably plotting the day in the future when she will stab him to death while he sleeps.  Anyway, the child had my sympathy. It brought back some memories of my own.

When I was a child, about in the third grade or so, I had a real problem. That was the year I broke my arm. But that was also the year we got ketchup. I had experienced ketchup before. I’d had it at school. But, in our house, my dad had this fanatical hatred of ketchup. He would throw a fit if anyone bought it at the store. If you actually had some and put it on something, he’d go in a tirade about drinking blood. So, my mom just didn’t bother to buy it.

But, as I and my brother got older, ketchup (still spelled catsup back then) kept making its way into the house. But I would be relentlessly harassed if I put it on a hamburger or tater tots (or anything). My father actually once tried to get me to put mustard on french fries. Well, this got old. Finally, at some point, my mother intervened and told my dad to stop acting like such a jerk. Then we moved to California and the ketchup problem kind of faded away–sort of. We’d still get "Ooh blood comments," but he stopped throwing fits if you tried to buy it or used it at a restaurant.

I don’t know where this came from. When we went to our grandmother’s house she had ketchup on hand. So, it wasn’t something from his childhood like a family taboo or anything. In fact, my brother and I once found a bottle of hickory smoke flavor ketchup at grandma’s. It was an unopened bottle. We opened it and tried it, though I don’t remember on what. It was the most vile thing I’ve ever put in my mouth–simply horrible. But regular ketchup was never an issue there. And his brother (my uncle) consumed ketchup and possessed it at his house until the day he died.

Anyway, my dad sort of gave up at some point and people in our family could eat ketchup and buy it without any harassment. We could even use it at restaurants.

However, since my mom died, I don’t think there’s ever been a bottle of ketchup in his house. 

I buy the store brands of ketchup, as it's often half the price of Heinz.


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