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Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment Paperback – March 17, 2001
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›