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Condiment war: Ketchup versus mustard

| July 5, 2020 1:00 AM

Every Fourth of July, when hot dogs inevitably are on the menu at most family picnics, the battle between ketchup and mustard resurfaces at the Hintze household. Actually it’s an ongoing spat.

I’ve always slathered my hot dogs in good old yellow mustard, a condiment my husband Tim condescendingly refers to as “baby (poop) mustard.” He prefers ketchup on his dogs, something I’ve never been able to stomach, though I love ketchup on other things.

Tim stands by his long-held assertion that the world would be much better off without yellow mustard. I’ve been known to “drink” packets of mustard if given the chance.

So where does society come down on this ultimate condiment war?

I’ve got the statistics on my side. According to the www.hot-dog.org website, a survey conducted by Harris Poll showed nearly three quarters, or 71% of Americans who eat hot dogs say they top their dogs with mustard. Another website found in my late Friday afternoon research, www.foodandwine.com, noted the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council recently publicly stated its disapproval of adults using ketchup on hot dogs.

“In a guide to hot dog etiquette the organization decreed that for those 18 years of age and older, acceptable wiener toppings include mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili.” Ketchup was not on the list of “acceptable” hot dog toppings. Hear that, hubby?!

Mustard is way more healthy for you, too, than sugar-laden ketchup, according to Chowhound, yet another food website I stumbled upon. Mustard is “known to bring relief for myriad ailments including joint pain, skin problems and even poor respiratory health,” Chowhound advised. And it’s 5 calories per serving compared to 20 calories per serving for ketchup.

I also learned a little bit about the history of these favorite condiments.

Mustard’s journey starts long before ketchup. “Modern mustard first emerged in Europe in the sixth century B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), and mustard seeds have been found even further back in fossils traced to the Mesopotamian empire (Middle East) circa 3000 B.C.E., and in catacombs of Egyptian Pharaohs,” Chowhound noted, adding that both Greeks and Romans ate a version of prepared mustard mixing the seeds with grape must and spices, and then finally wrote down the official recipe in 42 A.D.

Mustard didn’t gain popularity in America until Robert French introduced his mild yellow condiment on hot dogs during the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. French’s mustard still is an iconic brand, and my favorite.

Ketchup is a relatively new condiment, even though Chowhound calls it the self-proclaimed “king of condiments.” It emerged some time in the 17th century as a concoction of mushrooms combined with flavoring agents such as fermented fish, oysters and walnuts, Chowhound noted. Tomatoes didn’t become a part of ketchup until the early 1800s Henry Heinz reinvented ketchup in the early 1900s and the rest is history.

I doubt there will ever be a clear winner in my personal battle over red and yellow condiments, so please pass the French’s and let’s eat.

News editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.