Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jul 11 04:42:28 UTC 2001

At 5:09 PM +0200 7/11/01, Paul Frank wrote:
>Ketchup, that all-American sauce, is not quite as American as many Americans
>suppose. To begin with, the word ketchup is of Fujianese or Malay origin.
>Thousands of Indian, Malay, Filipino, and Chinese recipes call for ketchup.
>I once went to an excellent Indian restaurant that served ketchup with just
>about everything. In southern India, I forget where exactly, there's an
>entire ketchup-based cuisine. In Spain, as in India, omelets are often eaten
>with ketchup.

Well, yes, but then we're not necessarily talking  KETCHUP ketchup,
the type with Garrison Keillor's "natural mellowing agents".  I've
had Asian condiments with this name that don't taste at all like
Heinz's best (or worst).  Indeed, by etymological considerations, the
tomato-based version has no privileged status.  Here's the OED entry
with the first couple of cites.  I'm surprised to see "catchup" but
not "catsup" listed as an alternate form.
ketchup  Also kitchup: see also catchup. [app. ad. Chinese (Amoy
dial.) kôechiap or kê-tsiap brine of pickled fish or shell-fish
(Douglas Chinese Dict. 46/1, 242/1). Malay kechap (in Dutch spelling
ketjap), which has been claimed as the original source (Scott Malayan
Wds. in
English 64-67), may be from Chinese. The Japanese kitjap, alleged in
some recent dicts., is an impossible form for that language. (? error
for Javanese.) ]

A sauce made from the juice of mushrooms, walnuts, tomatoes, etc.,
and used as a condiment with meat, fish, or the like. Often with
qualification, as mushroom ketchup, etc.

1711 Lockyer Acc. Trade India 128 Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and
the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and
sold very cheap in China.

1748 Mrs. Harrison House-kpr.'s Pocket-bk. i. (ed. 4) 2, I therefore
advise you to lay in a Store of Spices,..neither ought you to be
without..Kitchup, or Mushroom Juice.
Now some of that "Tonquin"-style ketchup (presumably from that 'brine
of pickled fish') or the mushroom juice or walnut varieties might be
quite interesting on scrambled eggs.  I don't object to the IDEA of
(tomato) ketchup on eggs, I just think of it as a poor substitute for
the appropriate condiment, a nice picante type salsa.


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