So a Lot of You Hate Ketchup...

Rachel Tepper Paley
August 28, 2014

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Last week’s story about a Florida bistro’s self-declared right to refuse ketchup clearly touched a nerve: 1,786 of you (and counting!) have since weighed in on the topic. And yesterday, readers took to Twitter for our heated #ketchupdebate #snackchat about the controversial condiment.

It turns out that the consensus on ketchup is far from clear. Here’s what we learned:

A lot of you really hate it. It may be the second-most popular condiment in America (behind mayonnaise), but ketchup is particularly loathed by some:

"Try as I have to like it, I’ve always hated ketchup," admitted Jen Resick Williams

Ben Kleinman agreed: “I hate ketchup, I think it’s disgusting. I love most condiments though, and tomatoes.” 

"Ketchup is at the bottom of the condiment food chain," tweeted Archelle Georgiou. “BBQ sauce—always a better decision, or hummus,” she added.

One reader dismissed it as downright immature: 

"Ketchup is for kids," said commenter Andrew. "It makes everything taste like ketchup. What’s the point of that?"

Others really love the stuff.

Clearly, there’s no disputing taste. The sweet-and-savory sauce remains the condiment of choice for many, whether slathered on burgers, drizzled over freshly-fried taters, or even slopped over a hunk of steak

"Ketchup is the king of condiments. Others will come and go but ketchup will always be there,"declared reader Charles. 

Some ketchup lovers prefer unconventional flavor combos. “In our house @HeinzKetchup_US + samosas is a THING,” tweeted Yasmin of food blog Le Sauce.

And Brendan F. Newnam, host of “The Dinner Party Download" podcast, is all about brand loyalty: "If I’m using ketchup I’m eating comfort food which means no surprises which means @HeinzKetchup_US,” he tweeted.

Some support a restaurant’s right to refuse you ketchup.

Several readers voiced their support of anti-ketchup hot dog establishment Superdawg in Chicago, where the company FAQ page informs you: ”Ketchup was never, never served or applied. In later years, it became something desirable by so many of the young people, but we… will not put ketchup on a sandwich. We will serve it, and if someone wants to mess it up with ketchup we will serve it for them.” (At Superdawg, mustard, Indian-spiced and dill pickles, Spanish onions, and hot peppers are the trimmings of choice.)

On Twitter, the restaurant defended itself: “Superdawg offers a balance of flavors in its toppings,” the restaurant tweeted. “This would be drowned out by ketchup’s overpowering sweetness.”

As for other condiments and “on the side” decisions, British food and travel writer Rachel Phipps, has no qualms with California restaurant Gjelina's refusal to serve Victoria Beckham a salad with dressing on the side.

"She could have gone down the street to @LemonadeLA [a casual cafeteria] to pick and choose,” she tweeted. “You would not tell a brain surgeon how to do his job, why a chef?”

Reader Nora agreed: “Honestly, if it’s your restaurant, then do what you want! If someone doesn’t like it, there is another place to eat right around the corner.”

But the vast majority of readers believe that the customer is always right.

"If anyone tries to dictate what I can and can’t eat, especially if I’m paying for it, then I don’t go there," commented reader Blank. "I love my ketchup, so I won’t be going to any place that thinks their food is good enough as is, they don’t know my taste buds, and it’s arrogant to believe they do."

Reader Jason was similarly incensed: “Well, I know where I won’t be eating…EVER. I personally prefer mayo than [sic] ketchup with fries, but to deny me a condiment is to lose my business.”

"Don’t tell me I can’t eat my food the way I like it," agreed reader BeaBoy. "I’d be fine with them suggesting that customers try eating it without before drowning it in ketchup. But don’t tell them that there is only one way to eat something. Unless they plan on having a lot of people walk out without paying."

We have a feeling that this controversy is far from over.