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11 Ketchup Facts That Go Well With Everything

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You know it’s a hamburger’s best friend, but do you know these tasty nuggets about the king of condiments? 

1. Tomatoes haven’t always been a key player. 

The first recorded recipe for ketchup hails from 544 A.D. China (where the fish-based sauce was referred to by sailors as ke-tchup), which calls for "the intestine, stomach, and bladder of the yellow fish, shark and mullet," and 20 days of incubation under summer sunlight before it’s ready for consumption. In the spring or fall, increase that incubation period to 50 days—or 100 days during winter.

2. European explorers took it home.

According to The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, British travelers developed a taste for the sauce and tried to replicate it back home, but they ran into a snag: soybeans were crucial ingredients in the Asian version, and they weren’t grown in Europe. In place of soy, European chefs experimented with oysters, walnuts, and mushrooms as bases, none of which sound like tasty accompaniments for fries. (Jane Austen, a mushroom ketchup devotee, would disagree.)

3. Americans may have added the tomatoes.

Despite the difficultly Europeans had in replicating soy-based ketchup, they weren't ready to take the plunge into tomato ketchup. The major stumbling block: for centuries, Europeans labored under the misconception that tomatoes were poisonous

Americans were more willing to dabble with the fruit. The first known written recipe for tomato ketchup came from Philadelphia horticulturist James Mease in 1812. Mease’s recipe included spices, brandy, and, of course, tomatoes, which the scientist referred to as "love apples." 

4. Ketchup was a miracle drug. 

In 1834, Ohio physician Dr. John Cook Bennett took to the newspapers to herald tomatoes as a cure-all for "just about everything from dyspepsia to cholera." As part of this campaign, the good doctor published recipes for tomato-based ketchup. 

5. The early going was rough. 

Ketchup earned a nasty reputation in the 1860s when unscrupulous makers used excessive preservatives and coal tar to give the condiment its iconic red coloring. In 1866, French cookbook author Pierre Blot penned a warning against ketchup, calling it "filthy, decomposed, and putrid," and stating his convictions that "many cases of debility and consumption" come from "eating such stuff."   

You can’t keep a good condiment down, though. The Oxford Companion points out that by the close of the 19th century, tomato ketchup had become an American staple. A 1901 study found that Connecticut shoppers had access to a whopping 94 brands of ketchup. 

6. Heinz made way more than 57 varieties. 

Henry J. Heinz saw an advertisement for 21 styles of shoes while riding a New York City train in 1896 and was inspired to create similar branding for his own company. Even though Heinz’s company manufactured more than 60 products, the condiment entrepreneur went with "57 Varieties," an amalgam of his own lucky number, 5, and his wife's, 7.

7. “Ketchup” was another branding coup from Heinz. 

What’s the difference between “ketchup” and “catsup?” There isn’t one. Heinz began calling his product ketchup to help it stand out from all of his competitors who were peddling catsup. Given the ubiquity of Heinz ketchup, it’s safe to say the ploy worked. 

8. Heinz’s 57 has another non-marketing use. 

That "57" isn't just clever branding—it’s also a key component of a life hack for easing more ketchup out of the classic Heinz glass bottles. According to the company, applying a "firm tap to the sweet spot on the bottle—the 57" is the trick for getting ketchup to flow. Don't feel left out if this is news to you; Heinz claims only 11 percent of ketchup connoisseurs are clued in to the trick. 

9. Ketchup isn’t going to win any races. 

Speaking of the classic glass Heinz bottle: ketchup flows out of the vessel at a rate of .028 miles per hourFor comparison, a typical garden snail moves at a zippy 0.03 miles per hour. 

10. Illinois is a hotbed of ketchup world records.   

Collinsville, Illinois proudly boasts two ketchup-related world records: the world's largest ketchup bottle sits within the city's confines. The behemoth bottle is 170 feet tall and was built in 1949 for Collinsville's G.S. Suppiger catsup-bottling plant. The city also made the world's largest ketchup packet in 2007; Heinz donated 4,000 glass ketchup bottles for the mammoth packet, which held 127 gallons of ketchup.   

11. Americans really, really love ketchup. 

According to The Oxford Companion, Americans slather 10 billion ounces of ketchup on their food each year—that’s roughly three bottles of ketchup for every man, woman, and child. 

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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