Ketchup: America’s #1 condiment.
That’s how this review was supposed to start. However, being the Journalist with Integrity that I am, I decided to actually look up America’s #1 condiment, and was surprised to find that this is not true.
Hellman’s Mayonnaise: America’s #1 condiment.
Ketchup didn’t even come in second. Tostitos Salsa did. Different brands of mayonnaise took five of the ten top grossing condiments. Heinz Ketchup took third place.
What happened, America?
Your french fries are sad. Your burgers are bummed. Your hastily put-together vampire Halloween costume is lacking that crucial blood-down-the-chin tomato touch. What are you going to do, replace that with some mayonnaise?
…don’t do that. That is a bad idea. That is how you wind up on a list that mandates you must keep your porch lights off on Halloween.
So, what happened? Has the debate of ketchup vs. catsup divided a nation, allowing mayo to take over? I can put that to rest right now. Or, rather, five minutes of internet research can. Remember, kids: Wikipedia is a totally valid source for your essays.
The word “ketchup” entered the English vernacular in the late 17th century; I won’t go much deeper into that, but it involves China and fish sauce and you’ve probably already stopped reading this sentence.
You can blame Jonathan Swift for first introducing the word “catsup” in 1730. Heads up: Jonathan Swift wanted everyone to eat poor people’s babies. He probably wanted to put catsup on them, too.
Obviously, ketchup is the correct term. If you use the word catsup, you support eating babies. I’m pretty sure baby-eaters have to turn off their porch lights on Halloween.
With etymology out of the way, what is to be done about ketchup’s decline in popularity? Well, Whataburger is doing their part to put some pep back in ketchup’s step with their new Limited Batch Spicy Ketchup. The label made me feel like I was about to peel open a tiny cup of bourbon, which I found adorable. I also like the phrase “Limited Batch”, which always makes me feel like I should save some to sell on eBay ten years from now for a price that will surely allow me to retire early and live on a giant yacht. I’m telling you, that bottle of Crystal Pepsi sitting in my closet will have me rolling in a pile of money like Scrooge McDuck.
I have to admit: ketchup is not my go-to condiment. I don’t hate it, I just think there are a lot more interesting dips and dressings out there. I’m not begging Whataburger to change my mind, but I am interested in seeing if they can take good ol’ ketchup and make it a little more dynamic.
Can you spot the Spicy? I was expecting the Spicy Limited Batch ketchup to have a different color and/or viscosity than Whataburger’s regular Fancy Ketchup, but they seemed almost identical on both fronts. There was a distinct difference in taste, however. Unlike regular ketchup, which generally has a sweet tomato taste with a vinegar finish, the Limited Batch Spicy Ketchup immediately hit with a tomato/vinegar combo and finished with a nice spicy bite (courtesy of red jalapeÃ±o pepper purÃ©e) and just a hint of that conventional ketchup sweetness.
The heat level rose nicely as I plowed through the cup with my fries. I was surprised at how much heat there was; it wasn’t to the point where it burned my mouth, but it had more heat than most fast food places would qualify as “spicy”. Fast food spicy is usually disappointing.
While I’m not usually a big fan of ketchup, I found myself enjoying Whataburger’s Limited Batch Spicy Ketchup. All the classic ketchup flavors are there â€“ tomato, sweetness and vinegar â€“ but they’ve been rearranged to where the vinegar played a bigger part than the sugar. The addition of the spicy heat just added another dimension that worked with all the other flavors. Regular ketchup lovers may find the vinegar too overpowering and the sweetness too muted, but someone looking for a new ketchup experience with a spicy kick will wish this batch wasn’t so limited.
Now, where’s my tiny cup of bourbon?
(Nutrition Facts – 1 container – 31 calories, 2 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 406 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)
Item: Whataburger Limited Batch Spicy Ketchupâ€¨
Size: 1 ounce cup
â€¨Purchased at: Whataburger
â€¨Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Has a genuine spicy kick. Rollin’ like Scrooge McDuck. Vinegar over sweetness was refreshing. Catsup-covered babies
Cons: Could be too spicy for some. Mayo being the #1 condiment. Vinegar may overwhelm classic ketchup lovers. Not an actual cup of bourbon.