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Ketchup


Dave Pressley
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When you're in a restaurant, do you prefer Heinz or whatever housemade version is being offered...or do you want both to be served? I ask because in a few different restaurants that I have worked, we have always attempted to make our own, but were often criticized for not serving Heinz. We always ended up serving both, only to usually watch the housemade version get tasted with a spoon then watch the Heinz get put onto the sandwich (and yes, the housemade versions WERE tasty--just not that familiar taste, you know?)

Is it a waste of time to try a housemade version anymore? If you were a restaurateur, what would you do?

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If there are french fries involved, the housemade stuff generally doesn't work for me texture-wise; sometimes the flavor works, sometimes not. Now, if it's for a burger, or if the housemade ketchup is something other than the basic tomato version, then it's certainly nice to be offered both. I suppose it depends on how much money/staff time/etc. you're spending on making ketchup as to whether it's worth it from your end.

We were someplace the other day that had Heinz organic rather than the regular stuff on the table - maybe that would work as a compromise, if you're feeling that the plain old bottle isn't value-added enough.

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At home it is organic, either Heinz or Muir Glen. Sometimes I will make my own (and it is awesome), but it takes an afternoon to reduce down and barely makes enough IMO. So I make it once a year only.

Out, I'd kill for house made ketchup to be offered and served to me. If given the choice, I can almost guarantee you the house made stuff would be used by me. When you can get Heinz ANYtime ANYwhere, why would you NOT want to try something new?

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When you can get Heinz ANYtime ANYwhere, why would you NOT want to try something new?

EXACTLY one of the many, many reasons why so many restaurants try to make their own. I am completely in your camp on this one, but most people just want their ketchup to taste exactly as they've enjoyed it for their entire lives. Heinz will forever be a basis for comparison for most, so why (the Devil's advocate asks) would they try anything else when they feel what "the best" tastes like?

Currently, I'm thinking we'll stick with Heinz to please the traditionalists and cook up some new condiment for the adventurous folks!

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These days, it's Heinz Organic for me. I did a side by side taste test with plain 'ol Heinz, and the Organic has a much deeper tomato flavor, and lacks the slight metallic aftertaste of the standard variety. And, there's no high fructose corn syrup in the Organic.

I hadn't tried it because I was sure the "Organic" claim was a marketing ploy, but you've convinced me to buy a bottle. Running low at home anyway...

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I like the idea of housemade ketchup in restaurants, but generally find it lacking in...something. Salt, often. Or just the balance between sweet-salt-acid.
I do too and am inclined to say, go with the housemade if it's integral to the dish it is being served with. When you offer housemade ketchup to go with a hamburger, people are probably more inclined to ask for Heinz than if it is a component of a more complex dish. I was going to post this before but couldn't think of an example. I still can't think of an example :angry:.

Maybe it would help if you called the housemade condiment something different--e.g., tomato relish or tomato salsa (whatever applies). You could even differentiate by making it redundant (i.e., tomato ketchup).

ETA: Having this nagging thought, I just checked, and my bottle of Heinz is called Tomato Ketchup. I guess that suggestion isn't so good then, except that most people think of tomato ketchup just as ketchup.

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I admit I'm hooked on the sugar of Heinz Ketchup.

I have a jar of "Homestyle Ketchup" from Cherith Valley Gardens that I bought at a flower stand probably two years ago. Is it a death wish to consume it at this point?

Top doesn't "pop" when opened=BAD

Top explodes and flies across the room when opened=BAD

After opening, ketchup fizzes like Champagne=BAD

Any other results= Give it a shot. What the hell?!

(Disclaimer: I've had several glasses of sangria this evening and would try just about anything at this point.)

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^ I finally made my own and cheated immensely since it was not tomato season yet (alas). The cheater's version was:

1 Small pouch of Rio Grande Tomato Paste (Found at SFW)

1 pinch of salt

1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (or more to thin it out a bit more)

2 tbsp honey (can substitute with sugar)

Simmer on stove top - stir with spatula/wooden spoon until mix. Turn off heat and serve hot or cool down. Other options were: make it hotter by adding some cayenne pepper; add red wine or water to thin it out a bit instead of more vinegar (but make sure the alcohol is cooked out more); or add brown sugar if you want it a bit molassey.

Had the little man seal of approval, so that is all that matters.

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