Tuesday, July 29, 2008

MISC: Look What They've Done to My Bottle, Ma

It might not be a song beloved by all, but I'm tellin' ya, I'm pretty peeved about the latest attempt to re-invent the ketchup bottle.

Back about two months or so, I went out and got my ketchup supply for the summer. Then, in a pleasant surprise, Casey Slack came over and donated a case of the new 1.25 litre bottles with the new format, allowing me to feel comfortable not going to Costco again until the ides of December will be upon me. All told, I think I had 30 bottles of the delicious red nectar on hand at the time, easily six month's supply.

Now, to be honest, I use a LOT of ketchup. I'm addicted to the stuff. Have been all of my live. My only defence is that I never put it on chocolate ice cream, which at least one member of my family can't claim. I even put ketchup on my canned tomato soup. My name is Gary and I am a Ketchup-holic.

Over the years I've had all kinds of ways of getting my ketchup. I even arranged to have my ketchup delivered directly from Heinz for a while, the only purveyor of the stuff that should be allowed to sell it. Nothing angers me more than to be served weak imitation stuff. It's insulting to the very notion of ketchup.

When ketchup' mode of delivery turned from glass to plastic, I have to admit I was pretty happy. I knew the tricks for extracting ketchup, which did NOT include hammering the bottom after opening it, hoping to start the red flow flowing. Course, I learned that by ending up wearing ketchup. Or worse, having my pops wearing it. It's funny after the fact, but he wasn't grinning at the time. A little judicious knifework and any slow-moving glass bottle of ketchup could be made to give up the goodness.

Then, along came plastic. The perfect taste in the perfect delivery system. What more could a connoisseur want? Well, some people had trouble getting the last little bit of ketchup out. It was exactly the SAME problem as with glass bottles. And easy to solve. Yet somehow, someone pandered for a flat top to allow for stable, easy inverting of the bottle. That would allow for the congregating of the last bit of ketchup in the head of the bottle.

Voila. Was born the flattop. A solution to a problem already solved. (HINT: Empty tall glass, near empty ketchup bottle inverted. Dunh!!?!?). And of course, the solution created a brand-new problem.

The laser-like accuracy of the squirt from the now-old plastic bottle was a thing of beauty. You could coat that hot dog or even do individual french fries. Need a little dot on the corner of that grilled sandwich? No problem.

But not with the flattop. The squirts is still small, but now you have a two-inch diameter shield blocking you from seeing the target unless you twist and contort yourself around to see just where the dribble is going. And yes, I have detected a minute change in ketchup formulation to make it slightly runnier. I detect a little more 'red water' pre-pour from these bottles.

However, it's not the reduced firing visibility that incenses me most about the new format bottles. It's that the bottles have been made slimmer to be more fridge-friendly. It even champions the cause of storing the ketchup in the refrigerator.


The very idea of ketchup being kept in the fridge to congeal to a stolid, heat-killing mass is an affront to civilization! Lumpy, cold ketchup on hot food? When will this nightmare end? If it is at ALL possible that you might actually have an opened ketchup bottle sitting around unconsumed long enough to spoil, BUY A SMALLER BOTTLE!

Or open it up, use the two squirts you bought it for, and then send it to me. Postage paid.

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