Monday, November 24, 2008

Something You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know

(1) Why is it called Ketchup?

According to two (one and two) sources, in the 1700's in Singapore, British people discovered a local fish sauce called "kichap" (from the Chinese words "fish brine"). These people then went back to England and tried to recreate this sauce using local ingredients, and came up with what would eventually be known as catsup... and then ketchup. (I didn't realize that ketchup has been around for 300 years!)

(2) What is the history of the hotdog?

Hotdogs have been around for a long time as frankfurters (from Frankfurt) weiners (from Vienna), and baloney (from Balogna). They are all basically sausages of highly-pure├ęd smoked beef and/or pork with very little spice. The first weiner sausage in a roll was introduced in Coney Island in 1870. The buns were invented around the turn of the century. However, they became known as hotdogs when a British fellow began making "dachshund sausages" and selling them at The Polo Grounds baseball stadium in New York City in the early 1900s. Apparently a New York Times reporter couldn't be bothered to find out how to spell "dachshund" and used the word "dog" instead.

(I couldn't find out when hotdogs started to be made out of the nasty leftover bits, or if some hotdogs still are. Probably best not to know, although the USDA explains a lot here.)

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