The Catch to Ketchup

When it’s time to eat, the easier the better.  Although there’s something to enjoying a meal you’ve worked hard to create, if it’s easy, healthy and delicious, that’s even greater, isn’t it?  And when it comes to the small things, like condiments, 90% of the time it should be as simple as twisting and scooping, or popping and squeezing.  So why, in the name of all that is holy, have we NOT figured out ketchup?

After “slaving” away on the creation of Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches™ for a solid 10/15 minutes (grating the cheddar cheese, warming up the griddle, carefully crumbling the blue cheese, buttering the bread, waiting for the stupid griddle to PICK A TEMPERATURE), I transferred the deliciousness to a plate, the two oozing masterpieces halved diagonally, with a delicious plate pocket ready to accept sugary tomato paste for repeated dipping and dunking.  The hard part was over, the easy part would put the ketchupy bow on my simple dinner.  Or so I thought…

…there it is.  Mankind’s worst invention: the “No Mess” ketchup dispenser bottle.  I understand the thinking behind the idea…everyone hates the ketchupy crust that forms between the top of the bottle and the inside of the lid, coating the threads with chewy darkened ketchup resin.  So this magical valve idea will only release the sweet red reward contained within with a proper amount of pressure.  Once the pressure is released, the flow stops, and the ketchup ceases its exit from the container.  In theory, this is a fantastic idea.

In reality?  A bomb-technician in a hazmat suit would have as much success as the rest of us.  First off, what IS IT in ketchup that creates this geyseresque pressure build-up, so that when you open the cap the ketchup explodes on anything within a 10 foot radius?  Have they started carbonating condiments?  I spent the first 3 minutes of ketchup contamination wiping red splotches around my clothes and the counter-top.  After thinking I’d removed all memory of mess from the crime scene, I moved to the next step…actual…ketchup…dispersal.

And here is the main, and therefore “great idea” killing problem:  What IS the right amount of squeezing?  It’s like fighting with the shower faucet to obtain the ideal water temperature…too little, too little, too little, too lit-TOO MUCH!!!!  I can squeeze with half the effort I think I need, and then, the threshold is met and surpassed in a matter so small one would think a fly jumped on the bottle and pushed along with me.  From nothing, to a small barrel of ketchup.  In one place.  Great.

You can try to spread it around, the squeeze-while-I-move method (think hot-dog) where you move the bottle back and forth while you apply steadily and minutely increasing pressure, hoping to evenly spread the fire-hose of topping around when it finally decides to come out.  You can just leave a giant spot on the plate knowing full well you’re going to get more than you want.  You can even create a community ketchup receptacle, where everyone enjoying the meal can dip or spoon out whatever they need.  The point being: it’s fucking KETCHUP.  Does it really have to be that hard?

Yes, this is a small thing.  But as with anything, when someone makes a mistake once, and they learn from it, you move forward.  When the mistake continues to occur after repeated attempts at correction, the anger increases. Such is the despair with the ketchup.  It was a nice try ketchup scientists…but it’s back to the cutting board with this one.  For now, just give me a glass bottle and a knife for cheating.

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