Monday, July 27, 2009

I Hate Ketchup (Catsup? Catchup?)

I think ketchup is disgusting. Why anyone would want to eat perfectly good food accompanied by a glob of overly-sweet, sticky goop is beyond me. No one even seems to know how to spell it. For my purposes I am going to spell it 'Ketchup' because 'catsup' should be pronounced cat-sup and 'catchup' looks like a typo of 'catch up'. I don't really remember when I realized that I disliked ketchup. When I was growing up I always ate cheeseburgers plain or with mayo (not miracle whip) and I ate my fries with only salt. I actually do not like anything sweet on my meat or vegetables. I don't like Honeybaked Ham, I don't like sweet-and-sour chicken, I don't like baked beans. Any kind of protein or produce with any kind of sweet sauce is completely gross to me. And ketchup is, in my mind at least, the poster child for all sweet and disgusting sauces.

Although I don't remember when I started disliking ketchup, I have a good idea of why. Things were tight a lot when I was growing up. We ate a lot of banquet pot pies or spaghetti. When my dad was growing up, things were even worse for his family. One thing they ate a lot of was this atrocious dish of nastiness that, for some reason, he had fond memories of and would request my mother to make for dinner from time to time. I have no idea what it is called, but the recipe goes something like this: Sauté cubed Spam and some onions in a skillet. Once the onions are soft, dump a bunch of ketchup in the skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Serve on top of over-cooked, mushy white rice. Enjoy! Or vomit. This is so vile that just the memory of it makes me feel like gagging.

Of course, at this point in my life, I know that I was extremely lucky to grow up in a house where we had something to eat for every meal. I never knew what it was like to have to go days with an empty stomach or to actually look forward to school lunches because that was the only nourishment I would have all day. Sure, things were really tight sometimes, but my parents always had something to feed us... even if it was the grossest thing to ever be presented on a table in the western world. I shouldn't complain, and I'm really not. I am grateful my parents were able to provide for us.

But there are just some things that if you have a choice of what to eat, you would never, ever eat them. I'm pretty sure I will always blame that vile excuse for a meal for the fact I can never enjoy a beautifully sliced sweet-coated ham at Easter or that I can't eat most kinds of chinese food. And I certainly blame it for my deep-seeded hatred of ketchup.

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