It has taken me a while to come to this conclusion, but I do not state it lightly: Ketchup is evil.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a few too many kids using ketchup in ways it was never intended, such as the most recent this past weekend: my nephew dipping his turkey and cheese quesadilla in ketchup. But looking out on the vast world of food and condiments, I find myself coming to the conclusion that ketchup is simply a completely unnecessary condiment. It has uses as a base ingredient in better sauces, but by itself, I’ve developed a real disdain for ketchup.
Take a little tour with me, won’t you?
First we have the most common ketchup use: burgers and fries. Let’s face it, the only time you really need ketchup on a burger is to cover up the fact that it’s a bad burger. If it is a good burger (see: Ray’s Hell Burger, Big Buns), it has a nice natural juiciness from the meat. You can even get other toppings like cheese or grilled onions to give it some missing flavor. I realize that many people aren’t going to get over dipping their fries in ketchup, but I really enjoy fries just with vinegar drizzled over them. Of course, you can also get fries done much better, like the parmesan truffle fries we had at the Town Tavern in Royal Oak, or served with one of the seven sauces from Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper in Alexandria (all mayo-based and delicious). I admit that I myself am just coming around to this particular point of view, so consider this your impetus to go out and find a decent burger instead of slathering your crappy one in a crappy condiment.
Closely related to the burger is meatloaf. OK, I freely admit to being a ketchup meatloaf guy, not a gravy meatloaf guy, so this may be the exception to my rule. But this weekend I also had a meatloaf sandwich from Zingerman’s deli which featured a “spicy ketchup.” Way better than using the standard ketchup, and I believe it was ketchup in name only, so I get a pass on this one.
Chicken nuggets: So many many alternatives, including the just-as-sweet barbecue sauce, honey dijon, etc.
Eggs: Baby Jesus is crying, you heathen. Again, if you don’t want to actually taste the eggs, order or make yourself something else.
And finally, we have hot dogs. Look people, ketchup on hot dogs is simply an abomination, okay? You can make your dog Chicago-style with a freakin pickle and tomato and crap if you must, but please, don’t put ketchup on it.
The list of things my kids have eaten with ketchup could go on for ages, and it completely grosses me out just thinking about it: mac and cheese, broccoli, the aforementioned quesadilla (once their cousin had it, they had to try it too, ugh), etc. What do you put ketchup on? Could you live without it? I know I could. Feel free to chime in with a comment.