In a world/TV full of Nigella Lawsons and Masterchefs where not only store bought tomato ketchup is not just frowned upon but vehemently opposed, I, with all my heart, love ketchup. There. I said it. The political incorrectness of the statement or the coolness quotient aside, what I don’t understand is what’s wrong with loving something that has an “overpowering” taste, when that is flavor that I long for? Perfectly pureed tomatoes with artificial flavouring. I love that. Its cooked long enough to ensure no one has to worry about nutritional value. Heck no one cares about the nutritional value here. Even the artificial flavor added just helps me to pick my favourite brand. It gives me options and I like picking my favourite.
I think where people go wrong is when they judge ketchup as an accompaniment. That’s not my vantage point. I think of it as one ingredient/”produce” that I can’t live without. And I want this ingredient to be a part of everything else I eat. Don’t you like cheese in everything you eat? What about chicken? I see no one complaining about chicken in every dish they eat. They are happy. Let me be happy too!
Ketchup, to me, is that special something that has magical qualities to enhance all that goes into my stomach. Ounce after ounce of deliciousness that it is, poured into a plate of pakodas, French fries, burgers, paranthas, anything and everything. The French fries and the paranthas then become those dishes that go well with my core ingredient - ketchup.
To me ketchup brings hope. The mere presence of it brings the assuredness of a culinary delight about to ensue. It’s a promise that whatever I eat, it will be ‘to taste’. An empty table at a restaurant with a ketchup bottle on it is a sign of good things coming my way. I hate restaurants that assume that a bottle of soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil, or some crappy home made concoction is good enough to substitute MY ketchup. I take offense to that.
Pass the ketchup, please.