What do you eat with your ketchup, catsup or catchup?

November 16, 2013

Ketchup, or catsup or catchup?

Whatever you prefer to call it, we slather it on hamburgers, hotdogs, meatloaf and scrambled eggs and more, oblivious to its importance in our lives.

Historically, it’s been America’s most widely used condiment – now found in 97 percent of all kitchens – a showing matched only by salt, pepper, sugar, and most recently, salsa.

My husband came home the other day with an old ketchup bottle he found in a field buried in the ground. It is made of heavy, thick glass and the opening at the top is about half the size of the glass ketchup bottles made today.

As the bottle design of ketchup has changed over the years, so has the name of the sauce and its uses.

I’ve run across many different spellings of the sauce, but the Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists three spellings: ketchup, catsup and catchup. Heinz began marketing it as “ketchup,” and since they make over 50 percent of the world’s ketchup, that’s become the dominant spelling. I think Del Monte is the cause for the confusion between “ketchup” or “catsup” as they were the last major ketchup producer to succumb to the “k” word.


Just for fun I surveyed my coworkers and Facebook friends to see what they eat with ketchup and if they used the “c” word or the “k” word.

I’ll share some of the responses (and there were many), but I won’t use any names here to protect the innocent mothers, who, I’m sure, brought them up with better eating habits.

A snarky friend of mine (and you know who you are) said she uses “ketchup” just because “catsup” is stupid. I found most people use the “k” word, but they said it more politely than this friend. This same friend claims her ketchup use is normal, but she puts it on steak, and if anybody has a problem with that, she said, they can kiss her grits, upon which she does not put ketchup.

Another friend claims ketchup is great to put on top of gravy-covered chicken fried steak. I’m thinking that he might not really like the flavor of the steak.

Then there’s always the one who has to be different and call it “catchup” and muddy the waters. This is the same person who says it’s not weird to eat “catchup” and fried okry if you live south of the Mt. Pleasant-Dalhart line and that you can mix it with lemon juice and Woostashire sauce. Mind you, this person is an editor and really does know how to spell. He also must need a raise because he eats “catchup” by itself on white bread, folds it and enjoys it. Poor thing can’t even afford sandwich fixin’s.

A lot of others claim they or others they know put ketchup on everything, even buying it by the case. Then there’s the typical foods like burger, fries, onion rings, mashed potatoes, hashbrowns, potato chips, etc.

Now, here are some that will make your stomach turn. I’ve made up a name just for them – sauciopaths.


One respondent likes his hot dogs with peanut butter and ketchup, just ketchup on a chunk of cheddar cheese and enjoys a sandwich made with peanut butter, honey ham, cheddar cheese and sugar-free gerkins pickles. Why bother with the sugar-free pickles with all that sugar in the peanut butter and ketchup?

Another respondent said she and her dad used to make sandwich “concoctions” for lunch sometimes, and her favorite was peanut butter and ketchup. They often made it for unexpected guests. I think I would call them unsuspecting victims whom they would never see again. Regardless, they gave the sandwich a name: “The Gunder Hägg” named after the Swedish Olympic runner since the sandwich was a quick delight. Yes, this is one of my Minnesota friends. I could insert a quip including the words “quick” and “run,” but that would be unlady like.

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