the rules of ketchup

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.


3 thoughts on “the rules of ketchup

  1. aaack. I left a huge comment about this but it was lost in logging into WordPress. Let’s leave it at: I love this post. You may keep the Chicago dogs (I’d rather eat some kind of italian beef dipped sandwich anyway). Celery salt on a hotdog? Any salt on a hotdog? You might as well smoke a cigarette and snort cocaine while you are at it.

  2. OK Miss Cheesehead, don’t comment on a Chicago Dog if you don’t at least do your research. A pickle is key, the bun must be poppyseed and steamed, and the relish has to be the neon green stuff. The sport pepper has to be perfect or leave it off as most do anyway. The key of the Chicago dog is that no one flavor dominates as they all blend together. The sport pepper if too hot or overwhelming tends to take over the tastebuds. This is also key, hot dogs are already cooked, so you just need to warm them up, many places grill them to death or boil them to the point of tastelessness. I also love a New York hot dog, ate one or 2 almost everyday while there for a full summer.

  3. Okay, Mr. Crowley, read the blog before going off the handle. :). I was going to mention the poppyseed bun, but didn’t. I said “I believe,” because I figured I was leaving something out, given I’m not a fan of the Chicago dog. For instance, I don’t like relish, especially not the neon green kind. Also, I was seeing something covering the dig in my mind, which would have been the pickle, but just chalked it up to the sport pepper. I never said “this is the definitive Chicago dog.” I know, because I only dig the M/O, which I think is a widely accepted alternative.

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