Your Problematic Ketchup Dialectic (And Black Olives) Make Me Sick

As a food blogger, my appetite is precious and political. It’s the sickle reaping culinary knowledge, and part of a well-balanced discourse. If hunger is the physical front of the struggle, than curbing my appetite is the psychic front.

When people forward problematic articles like The Thrillist’s “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It” into my social media feeds, I feel personally sabotaged, like someone is playing “got your nose” with my appetite. Witness to the revoltingly anti-plebeian table manners of oligarchy, I have no choice but to excuse myself without supper. I guess it’s easy to forget, if you’ve had the privilege to have aioli or homemade tahini around the house, that some of us have actually had to eat ketchup.

But we exist, and whenever you talk about not having ketchup in your life like it’s no big deal, it’s like a flash grenade burning the image of myself with a mustache and “I’m a goober who eats ketchup, haha” into the back of my retinas.

Thrillist — or should I say The Shillist, for it has surely sold out the proletariat in its oligarchy of taste, has helped itself to a lovely meal of dismissive, oppressive anti-ketchup stoogery. And I have let them savor this feast of privilege for a week.

But now, here comes the check.

“Ketchup is awful…America’s snotty-nosed baby bro, beaming away while he tortures cats and shoves dirty sweat socks into his grandfather’s mouth. And for some godforsaken reason, America just can’t get enough of it.”
Meredith Heil, “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

Americans, long-believing that tomatoes were poisonous and would turn your blood to acid, have been eating ketchup longer than plain tomatoes. I’d say slathering adulterated tomato paste on processed meat is a long way from say, gathering at the local courthouse to watch a guy eat a basket of tomatoes to see if it’ll make him explode.

Maybe people eat ketchup because it does something for them??? You know tomatoes were once believed to be an aphrodisiac????


Also, ketchup came to America through England, who got it from Malaysia/Signapore, who got it from China. Eating ketchup is old as balls. And by this I don’t mean the slang for testicles, which many women have and many men don’t, but rather spherical shapes that are moved about in space-time as a form of recreation, a geometric blueprint of our civilization that is sometimes “accidentally” kicked right into someone’s nuts.

Just like you “accidentally” reified an America-centric view of condiments that denigrates the working class for their consumption of a former culinary practicality made into a widely available simulacrum. Look, if you want to use your privilege and institutional leverage to help reinstate fishy mushroom sauce as America’s “true ketchup”, you are welcome to do so.

But you can’t change me; I’m a revolutionary.

Slather ketchup on a cheeseburger and it’s practically impossible to spot the difference between Daniel Boulud’s $140 Royale Double Truffle Burger and a day-old White Castle Slider. The only thing worse than ordering a nice of steak well-done? Asking for a side of ketchup with it. It’s a chef’s bloody nightmare.
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

STEAK WELL DONE??? NOW WHO’S PROLIFERATING A GROSS AND UNHEALTHY TRADITION FOR THE SAKE OF CONFORMITY? I bet The Thrillist also urges its staff to eat eggs over hard, to always peel the skins off vegetables, and then one person forgets to wash their hands once and everyone catches the stripes.

You can’t have revolution without blood. Sorry, patriarchal “ Big L” liberals. I mean, not unless we’re talking about a revolution of compassionate food politics, where we dismantle the slaughterhouse system and implement technology that can mass-produce textured proteins that sate people’s needs for the food they enjoy without requiring we kill to meet those needs. But even then, you know, the guys who run the pork and beef lobbies didn’t get where they were because they believe in passive resistance and respect for life.

If you’re unsure which side you’d take in that fight, Thrillist, I can assure you those guys eat a lot of ketchup.

Given the massive gender and pay disparity in male vs female identified chefs, I humbly request that you spare me your male tears on what I choose to supplement my byproduct of industrialized brutality. Thanks.

I’m not saying mayo and mustard are the picture of health, but ketchup truly phones it in. Most name-brand varieties are loaded with not one but two different types of GMO-derived high fructose corn syrups, contain a negligible amount of actual tomato paste, and are bursting with enough sodium to kill a hamster (an untested theory, but I’d put $5 on it).
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

Fact-checking your theoretical hamster execution sent me down a hamster hole of heavy enthusiast debate, as some believe hamsters need salt licks to maintain healthy teeth, and others believe hamsters shouldn’t have any salt. Even as a former keeper of hamsters, I’m unsure who to believe, since the former are mostly on cheap-looking message boards and the latter I see in a lot of well-put together PDFs, and I worry I’m foregoing folk wisdom for institutional propaganda.

STOP TRYING TO DODGE ACCOUNTABILITY, THRILLIST. You have an ethical and journalistic responsibility to not dislike things which people have wrapped up their identities into. And for what? To satisfy your sponsors? To give engaging content to your readers that educates them on food history while making a slightly hyperbolic point for comedic event?

You make me sick. You make me literally feel like I’ve eaten a bowl of black olives (which make me physically ill). Saying “just the smell of this food can cause me to vomit” makes me sound like I’m just very picky, so I have to say “I’m allergic” so people take it seriously, but I know in doing so I am propagating a degree of ignorance and misinformation around food allergies, but we all have to make compromises to survive in an imperfect system — except you, I’m sure. You probably have water fountains at your office that shoot organic fruit punch and don’t compost because you just feed whatever you don’t eat to a goat you’ve named Chewy C.K.

Speaking of righteous condiment crusaders, I’ve got some heavy hitters in my corner. Louis’ Lunch, the century old Connecticut institution that reputedly invented the hamburger, famously bans the sludge and threatens to 86 anyone who dares B.Y.O.K. for LIFE.
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

“Condiment crusaders?” Put the brakes on your newspeak. We already have a word for people who operate their business on the basis of celebrating discrimination as some inalienable human right — libertarians.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (this is a real thing that exists) goes as far as to deem dressing a dog with ketchup completely unacceptable over the age of 18.
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

The Frankfurter Wurtschen, the progenitor of the hot dog, was created by Johann George Lahner around 1805. However the National Hot Dog Council credits it to Johann Georghehner, a fictitious person (which is just Johann’s name misspelled and predated by 200 years).

Try colluding with some special interest groups with some scruples sometime, Shillist.

Even street-food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain has a few words for the ketchup-minded. “Do not put ketchup on your hot dogs,” he warned viewers in the Chicago episode of Travel Channel’s The Layover. “Be assured God doesn’t want you to do that.”
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

How would Anthony Bourdain, whose abusive persona has done for the restaurant industry what Sandra Dee’s Kwanza Cake did for the credibility of TV chefs, know anything about God’s plans? Did he have a vision of God while he was eating a warthog’s asshole?

Must you be so elitist in how you put down the eating habits of the common folk? There are plenty of more relatable, down to earth racists who hate ketchup — like Clint Eastwood — you could be putting in your pocket instead.

If I launch a GoFundMe for all the people at my local diner who put ketchup on their eggs to travel to somewhere warthogs are and eat their assholes, can we quoted somewhere on the unseemly gaucheness of citing the prominence of name brand foods as part of America’s capitalist superiority over the world, and then raising our hackles when the lower classes consume bland name brand food because it’s what they’re familiar with and can afford?

I’ll throw in a meerkat’s spleen for every donation over $50.

So, to all you bottle-squeezing sheeple out there, if you want to ruin your food, be my guest — it’s a free country after all. Just be careful not to end up on the wrong side of history.
Meredith Heil — “Ketchup Is A Garbage Condiment And You’re A Moron If You Use It”

“Sheeple?” I don’t know what’s on the lunch menu at the cafeteria beneath the Denver Airport, but we get plenty of this “hot dogs disguised as libertarian propaganda” malarkey here in Oakland. It’s about as fresh as the contents of a bottle of Heinz 57.

“It’s a free country?” Who’s the real sheeple here? We who eat ketchup are not free to live our lives without being publicly shamed and belittled by Big Food classist indoctrination masquerading as clickbait. Your bon mots are sapping my appetite and zest for life — it’s the most violent way you can dismiss me without attacking me for my gender, sexual orientation, disability or trying to steal my Original Character, a Dominatrix who is also a Borg who has infiltrated the Federation because she’s a great Engineer and then turns on the Borg because she’s just that much of a bad girl. You can’t use her, and if J.J. Abrams tries to use her in a future Star Trek reboot, I will sue him and use all that money to write “MALE TEARS” in ketchup in your office’s waiting room every day.

I can’t believe that you thought you’d get away with this oppressive behavior. Maybe you assumed that all of the poors had since converted to Soylent, and now you could noogie the survivors without fear of being called out.

But Soylent actually tastes like rotting drywall, and if I had to subsist on ketchup packets to avoid having to live on it, I would do so, knowing I was on the right side of History, which is the name I’d give the barriers of spent ketchup packets I’d put between my fatally malnourished body and the outside world.

You can’t say the same, not while I am boycotting you and telling all of my radical friends to not even mention your name, or else a very public shunning of their Stephen Universe fanart tumblrs. Apologize, tell us how you plan to be more inclusive of ketchup-eating in your corporate culture, and make donations to the appropriate organizations (namely me). Maybe then, you too can be on the right side of History — provided you can bring your own ketchup packets.

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