America’s Favorite Table Sauce
Brits love vinegar on their French fries (chips, to them) but no self-respecting American would put anything atop his or her fries but ketchup. For reasons lost to the swirling mists of time ketchup is by far the most widely-used condiment/sauce in these United States.
Yes, I usually promote some interesting or historical dish that will impress your dinner guests or just make you happy by eating it, but we often overlook the small, simple things that we eat every day without giving them a second though. Ketchup is so ubiquitous that you almost cannot go to any fast food restaurant without seeing small packets of the substance ready for you to tear into.
If you want the whole centuries-long history of ketchup, the Spruce Eats site has an article that is well worth your time. The original “ke-tsiap” from Asia eventually morphed into our tomato-based sauce over the years and it’s what we put on almost anything from fries to hot dogs. Bottled ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) came onto the scene in 1837 but ketchup giant Heinz wasn’t the first. They wouldn’t begin bottling the stuff until forty-some years later.
Whatever the history you have to stop and think about it for a moment. What other substance do we use so often and in such quantities? Not many. And if you’re like Chef Jose Mier, you love your fries absolutely swimming in the stuff. The more the better.
It’s estimated that nearly every person, man woman and child in the United States uses ketchup. In 2019 that was about 305 million persons America, so popular is this humble condiment. Ponder that the next time you smother your fries at the local burger joint.