Come on, I’m begging you. There are other condiments, other seasonings abroad in the land. Lots of them. Have you ever tried mustard? Mustard’s good and you get a choice of sunny yellow or brown. There’s also horseradish and avocado and Worcestershire and olive oil and mayo. But, no, we are awash in ketchup.
The thing is, I’m not a fan of red food — tomatoes, pimentos, red peppers, not even apples. I like blue food, especially Icees and blue cheese. I like green food, too. Any color, but red. This aversion is probably due to the fact I don’t like tomatoes. There, I’ve said it. I know that verges on unpatriotic, but it’s the truth.
Do you know why I won’t order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s or any other fast food place? Because that order gets me a sandwich, all right, one that’s dripping with ketchup. No mustard, just ketchup and a lot of it. Even the paper it’s wrapped in has puddles of the stuff. I have to special order ‘no ketchup’, but even that’s no guarantee. It’s such an unusual, unimaginable request that cooks assume it’s a mistake and ladle it on, anyway.
Fast food burgers should come with a spoon. And a towering stack of napkins, tossing in a stain remover wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. Especially now that Heinz has redesigned their packaging. The cute, new packets have three times more ketchup and facilitate the easy dipping of your fries as you barrel down the highway at 70 mph. It’s a Christmas (close enough) miracle.
Should I decide to pick up a pizza, there’s two gallons of pizza sauce lurking under the extra cheese and pepperoni. Taking a bite makes me feel a little too much like Dracula, which is not an especially enjoyable sensation. And it’s messy, besides. Why does there have to be so much? Is soggy, limp pizza more of a delicacy or something? I’d rather taste the cheese and toppings than the sauce, but that’s just me.
And then there’s the ubiquitous salsa. It’s everywhere, you can’t escape it. People eat it by the bowlful, by the jar, even. They make full meals of salsa and chips. The chips I understand, the salsa is a mystery. It’s watery, for one thing. And the spicy taste isn’t a pleasant spicy, it’s an angry spicy, harsh and spiteful. Well, I have harsh and spiteful aplenty, I don’t need more from an ill-tempered condiment, thank you.
I don’t have anything against ketchup, I’m sure it’s a fine product. Colorful, too. But where’s the moderation? One skinny hamburger doesn’t require dousing with a full bottle of ketchup. Pizza wasn’t meant to be served as a liquid. There’s just no need to be so heavy handed with the ketchup, a modicum of restraint is what’s called for. Not a straw.
PS. Happy Thanksgiving! With or without ketchup.
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