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Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment Paperback – March 17, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Smith remains unabashedly evangelical about the much-loved and much-maligned sauce." -- LA Times Magazine, June 10, 2001

From the Inside Flap

Everything there is know about America's favorite sauce --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian (March 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560989939
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560989936
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mr. Joe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
According to some arcane device called the Bostwick Consistometer ("Oh, honey, what happened to that old Bostwick we used to have in the attic?"), ketchup "cannot flow faster than fourteen centimeters in thirty seconds at twenty degrees centigrade". Author Andrew Smith, while citing this fact in PURE KETCHUP, fails to say if this is on a downhill slope or level straightaway. I guess I'll have to conduct my own experiments.
This book is otherwise a fascinating and fact filled history of the condiment that only an un-American subversive would fail to gobble up with fries. Starting with the origin of the word - "kecap" (Indonesia), "kê-tsiap" (Vietnam?), "escaveche" (France), "iskebêy" (Arab) - Smith describes the evolution of ketchup, or catchup, or catsup, from the old days in Europe, when it was made from everything imaginable (grapes, cucumbers, walnuts, oysters, cherries, mushrooms, apples, apricots, gooseberries, currants, anchovies, cranberries), to the present, when it's a distinctly American food made from tomatoes.
In the chapter on the growth of the U.S. ketchup industry in the nineteenth century, the author goes to extreme lengths to name seemingly all the manufacturers of the period and every brand name they marketed. Smith followed the same course in his book on popcorn, POPPED CULTURE. I continue to regard his commendable attention to such detail excessive, but I shan't dwell on it here because I liked PURE KETCHUP more than the other anyway. The best chapter, for me, was the lengthiest one, which describes the bitter battle between pure-food adherents advocating the manufacture of ketchup without preservatives and those espousing the use of such, specifically benzoates.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased because one of our cooks asked "Why is it called 'tomato' ketchup". Tripped over this on accident. Didn't know A-1 Steak Sauce could be called ketchup by definition. Very educational!
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