Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Big Condiments Battle: Mustard or Ketchup?

Ready? Fight!

We all have been asked this question at one point or another. We buy a hotdog from the hotdog stand whether it be on stick or with a bun (if you're really hungry), but the question remains the same - "Ketchup or Mustard?".  Some people would save themselves the trouble by saying "a little of both" or "do you have mayo?". I can already hear the person standing behind you say "Geez, did you hear the man say mayo? Ketchup or Mustard! which is which! choose already!". Hahaha... I know both of these condiments have their own set of fan base. But let us do a battle and let the facts do the the talking shall we? (maybe halfway through this post you'll know which camp I'm rooting for :D).

Let's start with Ketchup. The red tomato-based condiment. Known to be a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent some forms of cancer. But did you know that Ketchup originated in China? (yes, just as bikes, firecrackers, pasta, etc.) Back then, it was far from the Ketchup we are familiar with nowadays. It was made from pickled fish. Yes, more like "patis" or fish sauce. It was only in 1801, that an American named Sandy Addison, created the tomato ketchup. 

At present, ketchup could come in different blends. There you have the classic or original blend, the sweet blend that targets mainly the younger consumers, Organic, Low Sodium, No Salt, No sugar, made with Balsamic Vinegar, made from green tomatoes (yes, green ketchup! Imported from our alien friends from the neighboring planet of Uranus. ;D), etc.

Oh, you think that's weird? Try Blue, Purple, and even a multi-colored one! Ketchup Giant Heinz was behind this crazy idea hoping to capture the kids' interest. It was then discontinued in 2006 due to poor sales (lesson: Never play with your food. Let us leave these kind of things to Crayola. It is much more up their alley.)

Enough of the crazy talk. Let us now move on to our other contender - Mustard.

First mustard preparation as a condiment could be traced back to the the Romans where they mix together unfermented grape juice and ground mustard seeds. The first mustard recipe was indicated in an old Roman cookbook dating as far back as the late 4th or early 5th century! It was a mixture of ground mustard, peppercarawaylovage, grilled coriander seeds, dillcelerythymeoreganoonion,honeyvinegarfish stock, and oil. First intended to be used as a glaze for a roasted boar.

By the 10th century, due to exportation, mustard preparation reached Paris where they began their own production. Later on Dijon, France became a well-known centre for mustard production.

Mustard serves a base for many sauces. Can be used for marinades and salad dressings. It could also be added to Hollandaise sauce to prevent it from curdling. Use of mustard on hotdogs, however, was first seen in 1904 in a St. Louis World's fair in (none other than) America. The bright yellow French's mustard was seen.

There's a vast list of the different kinds of mustard. Starting with your basic mustard (the most commonly used) consisting of the spicy brown/deli-style mustard, Dijon mustard, stone-ground mustard, whole-grain mustard, and yellow mustard. And just like Ketchup, there's also the sweet variety which consists of the honey mustard, spiced honey mustard, brown sugar and pecan mustard, prickly pear honey mustard, maple mustard, sesame ginger mustard, and sweet and hot mustard just to name a few. But it doesn't stop there. You also have the Fruit mustard, Herb mustard, Hot mustard, Old world mustard, and Spirited mustard wherein they add alcoholic spirits or beer for an added flavor.

Each country also has their own mustard preparation. There's the Australian mustard and the Russian mustard the latter being stronger and more acidic. You could also find mustard made with balsamic vinegar, black olive, sun-dried tomato and Maui Onion.

If Ketchup is lycopene rich, Mustard is a good source for selenium a nutrient which has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. It could also be very helpful for digestion, and can help to speed up your metabolism.

There you have it folks, the battle of two major condiments. Which side do you play for? I guess based on these facts, you already know which team I play for right?

Credits: All photos used were taken from the internet.


  1. ketchup! coz it's red har har! :P

  2. 1 point for the red ketchup! Any takers on the multicolored one? hehehe... :D