Tomato Ketchup – isn’t that a redundant phrase? Isn’t ketchup a tomato sauce? Not necessarily. Tomato ketchup is by far the most popular kind of ketchup, but there have existed mushroom ketchups, oyster ketchups and others.
Where does this strange word ketchup come from? Ketchup actually comes from Chinese koechiap meaning brine of fish or fish sauce. It was in the early 16th century when Chinese sailors introduced British settlers in Fuji to the sauce. This was a fish sauce that we would now recognize as the fish sauce found in your local Asian market. When the recipe was taken home to England it began to evolve, following the whims of the cooks and the restrictions of what they had in the cupboard. Jane Austin was known to love walnut ketchup.
The English played with ketchups for more than 200 years but never put a tomato in it; they thought tomatoes were poisonous. In 1834, a physician in Ohio, made claims that tomato was actually a cure-all. He was the first to make tomato ketchup, but he sold it encased in a pill that was patented and sold at pharmacies. Soon that fad died away, but tomato ketchup (now as a condiment) was here to stay.