Americans slather it on hamburgers, hotdogs, eggs and whatever it is that they can get their hands on, oblivious to its importance in our lives. Nearly everyne like ketchup, even if what they like to put it on seems weird, Nixon covered his cottage cheese with it, the Japanese eat it on rice and one ice cream manufacturer allegedly once tried a ketchup ice cream.
Historically, it’s been America’s most widely used condiment—now found in 97% of all kitchens—a showing matched only by salt, pepper, sugar, and most recently, salsa.
Not many realize, it was the Indonesian and Asian culture that invented what we know today as ketchup. The spicy, pickled fish sauce made of anchovies, walnuts, mushrooms and kidney beans, dating back thousands of years was called ke-tsiap or kecap and was popular in 17th-century China. British seamen brought ke-tsiap home with them where the name was changed to catchup and then finally ketchup. It wasn’t until the late 1700s though that canny New Englanders added tomatoes to the blend.
Henry J. Heinz began making ketchup in 1876 but he was neither the inventor nor the first to bottle it. His recipe remains the same to this day.
So the next time you put on so ’saus tomat’ on a burger, be proud. It actually originated from Indonesian ‘kecap’!
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