TOMATO / TOMAHTO

Tomato

I say “toe-MAY-toe.”

You say “toe-MAW-toe.”

Tomato.

Tomahto.

I call it ketchup.

You call it catsup.

According to trusty Webster, “ketchup” is the correct name.

Derived from Malay kechap.

A fish sauce.

And Chinese ketsiap.

A sauce for meat, fish, etc.

Especially a thick sauce.

Which appeared in Europe in the 1600s when Dutch and British seamen brought some home with them.

From there, the Brits added mushrooms.

And then it evolved into tomato chutney.

Across the pond, an American expatriate in Nova Scotia published his own recipe for tomato ketchup.

Not thin and runny like the English version.

The taste and desire for it definitely spread (pun intended).

A New England farmer started bottling and selling the stuff in small quantities.

By 1837, ketchup was being sold nationwide thanks to Jonas Yerkes.

But ol’ Jonas kicked it up a notch.

He added green tomatoes, lots of sugar, and vinegar.

And then sold it in quart and pint bottles.

After that, the Heinz Company entered the game.

And the rest is history.

America wouldn’t be America without its ketchup.

Imagine a burger and fries at Willow Creek Cafe without it.

Or a hot dog.

Or onion rings.

No way.

Though some scoff at ketchup on hot dogs.

Only mustard will do.

Some of us like ketchup on scrambled eggs.

And meatloaf.

Tomato ketchup.

Thick sauce with tomatoes, onions, salt, sugar, and spice.

There you have it.

Sugar being one key ingredient.

Not fructose corn syrup.

Sugar.

And spice.

And everything nice.

You can get the real thing at The Green House.

Without fructose corn syrup (and all those other bad additives).

Amazing how it tastes.

Of course the price is higher.

But so is the price for poor health.

So stay in the pink.

And please pass the ketchup.

That’s Mason

 

Read more poetry!

Renee Walker is a poet, writer, and real estate broker on the Square with her canine assistant, Buster.  

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