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Bruce, Caroline

Some Serious Thoughts on Ketchup

Okay, I know I've been having a lot of fun lately with the whole ketchup
thing, and I plan to continue doing so. But I'd be interested in some
thoughts here.

Why do we, we being people in general, think some things enhance the
flavor of something, while other things mask the flavor or even yuckify
it?

Let's lok at the ketchup, for example. I truly, and in all honesty,
believe that ketchup enhances the flavor of chicken, steak, roast beef,
and so on. I'm not making that up. And other people truly feel that
ketchup masks the flavor of the food. Many of these same people will
say, sincerely and fervently, that a glass of wine enhances the flavor
of certain foods. I will contend, with equal sincerity, that there are
few more disgusting ways to wreck good meat than with a glass of wine.
And many of the ketchup detractors, who fervently believe that ketchup
masks or destroys flavor, believe that barbecue wsauce enhances it. So,
in all seriousness, is it a matter of personal preference, is it just a
matter of my being strange, is it a matter of people prejudging ketchup
on things without trying it, or is there something more to it?
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Beware: Fundamentalist Ketchupism!

Let me tell you a story that will lead to and illustrate my comment, so sit down and I shall tell you a tale. This was back in the bad old days when I used to correspond with some 30 or so people via cassette tapes, which was just a few years before my presence was known on ye olde interwebz! I used to correspond with a couple of sisters who were fans of a given pop vocal group. I don't know exactly what I said to one of these young women or what question I asked, but she made a very accurate observation about me. She said, "Chris, I guess you will never understand fandom." And believe me, from that day to this, that's been the truth. So therefore, I say unto you, that the reason why you feel the way you feel about ketchup is that you have taken a mere preference for a condiment and have turned it into sheer fandom or fanaticism. Your liking for the tomato-based substance has gone from a mere preference to an unreasoning unquestioning endless devotion. It doesn't matter that the poor ketchup is not animate and so does not take interest in your adoration, and yet adore it you do. Not sure where you would place it in your pantheon, but perhaps your motto might be, "God, ketchup, Coke and family" or something like that. Should something be done about this wild-eyed devotion, this fundamentalist Ketchupism? Only the Shadow knows!