By: Michael Engle
Have you ever wondered why ketchup labels itself as “tomato ketchup,” even though “other” ketchup is almost impossible to find? This is because ketchup has a long, rich, and interesting history. Tomatoes have only served as the standard ketchup base for a little more than 200 years. Surprisingly, if not for a since-proven misconception about tomatoes, ketchup may not have become so firmly entrenched with tomatoes.
Ketchup can be construed to be a descendant of fish sauce (ke-chiap), which is an Asian condiment made of pickled fish and spices. After ke-chiap was invented in China, in the 1690’s, it soon became incorporated into Malay culture. In the 1740’s, British explorers discovered ke-chiap in Malaysia, and imported it to England. Eventually, the product name evolved to the anglicized “ketchup.” In British cuisine, the most popular ketchup was neither a tomato variety nor the original fish version; instead, the Brits invented a mushroom ketchup to accompany their Victorian meat pies, puddings, and roasts. Read More