Amuse Our Bouche: Why is ketchup called ketchup?

One of my shameful secrets as a lover of dips and sauces is that I do not like ketchup. This puts me squarely in the minority in America. The average American consumes 71 pounds of the sweet tomato sauce annually. American consumption of french fries and ketchup, in fact, is so high that it skews vegetable consumption data: A third of all vegetables consumed by Americans are potatoes, and a fifth are tomatoes, with 15 percent of all tomato consumption attributed to ketchup. (That’s right, Americans consume ketchup so much that we’ve tricked ourselves into counting it as a vegetable.)

Although we use the word “ketchup” without a second thought, if you stop and examine it, it’s a peculiar word with seemingly no root in Western languages. In fact, the etymology of the word has been disputed by historical linguists. And as with many American traditions, its …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *