The 100-Day Ketchup Recipe

The long history of ketchup in the Western world extends back to the early 16th century, when British settlers in Fuji were introduced to a sauce used by Chinese sailors called ke-tchup. Local recipes for ke-tchup varied, but the first recipe on record dates back to 544 A.D. and instructs any prospective condiment maker to “take the intestine, stomach, and bladder of the yellow fish, shark and mullet, and wash them well. Mix them with a moderate amount of salt and place them in a jar. Seal tightly and incubate in the sun. It will be ready in twenty days in summer, fifty days in spring or fall and a hundred days in winter.”

By the time the British discovered ke-tchup, the recipe had been simplified into a pungent, amber-colored liquid made out of salted and fermented anchovies. In a very real way, the original ketchup wasn’t ketchup at all. It was fish sauce, pretty much identical to the fish sauce you can buy by the bottle in any Asian supermarket.

Why, yes, I will read 2,500 words about the history of ketchup.

More ...