The battle cries of Ketchup versus Mustard rage on in the condiment war of the summertime burger/hot dogs. Slathered, dipped, coated, covered and drenched are just some of the ways these toppings are devoured. Their intent is to enhance a meat or vegetable but sometimes end up overwhelming the palette. Whichever you choose, please keep in mind that they are condiments and not entrees!
Ketchup was derived from the Chinese pickled fish sauce ke-tsiap. The condiment made its way to Malaysia where it became kechap and from there it became ketjap in Indonesia. Catsup and katchup are both acceptable spellings and can be used interchangeably with the way it is popularly used today - ketchup. Without a proper spelling dictionary, these words never really canceled each other. In today’s food society, "ketchup" is the most widely recognized term in both countries, though "catsup" still holds on, especially in the southern United States.
To make your own homemade Ketchup, try the following recipe:
12 ounces Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dry Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 scant teaspoon Cinnamon
2 pinches of Ground Clove
2 pinches of Allspice
1 pinch of Cayenne Pepper
2/3 cup Water
4 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Store the mixture in an airtight container. Place in the fridge overnight to allow all the flavors to develop. This ketchup recipe should last for 3 weeks in the fridge.
Mustard, on the other hand, was a common spice in ancient Egyptian and Greek civilizations. It was often eaten raw and chewed with meat to mask any off flavors. It was also believed to aid in digestion and consumed for its antimicrobial properties. It was the Romans that recognized mustard's potential by grinding and mixing mustard flours with unfermented grape juice, honey, and vinegar. They took their find to regions of France, like Dijon, as well as to England. Soon it became a staple of French royalty. It was R. T. French, seeking a milder mustard in the 1800s, that introduced hot dog mustard, thereby adding a newly found market for the spice.
Specialty mustards, which include almost every possible blend of added flavors and range of textures, have grown dramatically. Popular formulations include ingredients such as wines, whiskey, garlic, horse-radish, onion, peppers, and tarragon. The use of mustard in restaurants and in home cooking has expanded and become more subtle and more adventurous.
"Mustard's no good without roast beef."
Chico Marx, ‘Monkey Business’
To make your own homemade Mustard, try the following recipe:
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch of garlic powder
A pinch of paprika
Directions: Soak the mustard seeds in the vinegar and water. Be sure the seeds are covered completely by the liquid mixture. Leave the seeds soaking for a day or two. Add the sugar and spices to the seeds mixture. Change up the spices to match your palette. Allspice is another unique choice. Blend your mixture well and add water to reach your final desired consistency.
So whether you like tomato based condiments or something with a little more kick, try either of these well-known and worldwide toppings, but be sure you put it on only the best cuts of meat cooked properly.
For reference, check out these top dogs in the condiment world:
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.