The origin of…Ketchup

“A household name is like ketchup. Everybody wants ketchup. Ketchup doesn’t hurt anybody.” Louis C.K.

Post 49 Ketchup

The 17th century sauce of pickled fish made by the Chinese and called koechiap was brought to Malaysia and Singapore in the early 18th century, where the English discovered it. In Malay it was called kecap (pronounced kechap) and the word changed into ketchup in English.
In Malay and Indonesian cuisine kecap is a fermented savory sauce, with two main varieties: kecap asin (salty kecap) and kecap manis (sweet kecap). Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce containing soy, garlic, brown sugar and other herbs and spices.

In the UK ketchup was originally made with mushroom and the English brought this sauce to the United States in the late 18th century. Recipes of ketchup made with tomatoes appeared in American cookbooks in the early 19th century. Tomato ketchup was much more popular than fresh tomatoes were, since many believed that eating raw tomatoes was not safe (as opposed to eating tomatoes that had been processed through cooking and the addition of vinegar and spices).
Jonas Yerks is considered to be the first man to produce and distribute ketchup on a national skill (1937). The famous company F&J Heinz (nowadays H.J. Heinz Company) followed in 1876 and by 1906 they were able to produce preservative-free ketchup. Until 1983 Heinz introduced the plastic squeeze bottle, making it much more easy to pour out the ketchup. Previously, many people have had problems getting the ketchup out of the bottle and instead of hitting the bottom, one should´ve tapped the neck of the bottle right where Heinz placed the “57” label (put there on purpose, although not many consumers knew this). Heinz annually sells 650 million of bottles of tomato ketchup worldwide and it is estimated that the worldwide ketchup market will reach USD 3.3 billion in 2015.

a thick sauce made with tomatoes (Source: Merriam Webster).

The English ketchup, Dutch ketchup, Spanish ketchup and Italian ketchup come from Malay kecap (pronounced kechap), from Chinese koechiap (Amoy dialect), brine of pickled fish.

Ketchup in other languages:
Dutch: ketchup
Spanish: la kétchup
Italian: il ketchup


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