I read this story on Gawker about an incident over ketchup use, and it prompted me to write a blog post about my very particular rules about ketchup. I don’t know if I’ve ever written them out before, but I have them and they are strict and unwavering. I know there’s something minorly OCD and/or phobic about them, but that’s just how it goes.
1. Obvi, no ketchup on hotdogs.(1)
2. Ketchup is to be used for fried potato products ONLY.(2) These are products that can be (and are) eaten with one’s fingers, namely french fries and tater tots. Ketchup should NOT be used with American Fries, hash browns, home fries, potato pancakes and other grill-y/fry-y potato items.
3. NEVER pour the ketchup ON the potato. ALWAYS dip the potato into the ketchup.
4. If/when one uses ketchup with said items, it is imperative to use the LEAST amount of ketchup possible to eat said side/meal. The goal is to finish the potato with the last bit of ketchup in the container/on the plate.
5. Do not recklessly and wantonly pour ketchup on the plate, creating a disgusting surplus of ketchup that you will have to be forced to look at during your meal.
6. Always be sure to check the freshness of the ketchup, particularly in diners, where they are very likely to “marry” the ketchups — combining old and new ketchups to save money — a practice that is highly illegal and widely done.
7. A light salting is often all a potato product needs.
(1) Truth be told, I only like mustard and raw onion. I’m not really even down for a Chicago dog, which I believe is mustard, onion, “sport pepper” (whatever the fuck that is), relish and tomato.
(2) There is one exception to this: chicken strips/tenders when they are too hot to eat, there is no BBQ sauce or they are so terrible they need some sort of accoutrement. Ketchup may be used as a dipping condiment in this situation, but other ketchup use rules apply.