Whether it's pickles or preserves, DIY food is all the rage. But when I told a group of food-loving friends that I was planning to make my own ketchup, their response was muted. First, there was an awkward pause. Then, one piped up with the question that everyone must have been thinking: Why?
Ketchup, apparently, is an exception to the everything-is-better-if-you-make-it-yourself ethos. In a 2004 piece in the New Yorker magazine, journalist Malcolm Gladwell argued that although different people have different ideas of the perfect tomato sauce (chunky, spicy or smooth) or mustard (yellow or Dijon-style), everyone likes the same kind of ketchup. And that ketchup is Heinz, a condiment that offers a perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory or umami.