My boyfriend of four years has had three strong culinary influences in my life: He opened me up to the pure joy from allowing yourself to snack on Cool Ranch Doritos (they’re engineered to be perfect; I now accept—and revel in—that). He turned me on to white chocolate. (I felt so strongly about this newfound love that I wrote why it’s better than all other types of chocolate). He turned me off ketchup. Big time.
Why do I now have such an aversion to the weirdly sweet, super savory condiment, which rakes in $800 milly a year in sales? Here we go:
1. A SINGLE TABLESPOON HAS MORE SUGAR THAN A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE.
Sounds so hard to believe, right? I know, but when a condiment is historically sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup just to make it taste good, we have a problem. One tablespoon has a whopping 3.7 grams of sugar … by the time you’re done with that boat of fries, you’ve had enough sugar for a few cookies.
2. IT OVERPOWERS EVERYTHING IT TOUCHES.
One of the most prominent ingredients in ketchup? Sugar. It’s so cloyingly sweet that anything it gets near tastes like it—even when you wipe it off with a paper towel (trust me, I’ve tried).
3. THAT GLOPPY TEXTURE IS FOUL.
At least other condiments have signature textures: mayo is nice and creamy. Mustard is silky (kinda). But ketchup? It’s gloppy as it messily squirts out of that squeeze bottle … unless you didn’t do a proper shake and you end up with a watery first squirt, which is the WORST.
4. THE SMELL.
I don’t have to be too close to ketchup to know when it’s around. It has that stinky tomato smell … rancid even. And it lingers … FOREVER. Hours.
5. I CAN NEVER ESCAPE IT.
As a ketchup hater, you can imagine the disappointment and utter grotesque when you sit down at a restaurant, whether it’s a dive diner or upscale bistro, and have to share your meal with a bottle of the red stuff. Or when you order fries, they arrive with ketchup, and you have to spend the next five minutes tracking down your waitress just to get the condiment you really want with fries … mayo! Do you know how many delicious French fries I’ve had to enjoy with my eyes closed? So that I don’t have to bite into them with a vat of liquid red staring back at me? Even worse, when the ketchup and fries arrive together, with a few of the fries touching the villain.
6. Y’ALL ARE TOO OBSESSED WITH IT.
I wish America’s sweetheart could be something more interesting than ketchup, but alas, the numbers speak. While mayo still ranks as the most popular condiment in America, ketchup is a close second. And that’s because there isn’t anything we’re not dousing it on. Eggs are one that hurt my heart, and don’t even get me started on omelets. But beyond that, hash browns, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets all disappoint me in their own way.
7. IT DOESN’T BELONG ON A DAMN HOT DOG.
Nope, I’m not a Chicago native, but I do still think this is a sin. Mustard (maybe sauerkraut, too) on dogs only, never ketchup.
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