I love ketchup. Or catsup, since I too also enjoy cats and any chance to use the word cat in a non-related topic.
Sea story sidebar: Of my Navy memories, ketchup most brings to mind my first Chief. During my first few weeks aboard my ship, my male shipmates were very friendly toward me. Being introverted I’ve always enjoyed eating alone. I’d go to the mess decks; sit on the farthest corner facing a wall to enjoy my meal in delicious silence. About two bites in, a Marine or fellow Sailor whom I did not know, would materialize next to me, asking me questions. After a while my Chief caught on that I was receiving a lot of attention, and not that these guys were in any way rude or aggressive, it was just unwanted attention. One day I’m sitting on the mess decks eating whatever mush they’re serving, and a marine sits directly in front of me (even though there are like 30 empty tables). Simultaneously, Chief happens to be walking through the mess decks and witnesses my confused and irritated expression. Chief beelines to our table, and plops down next to my new Marine friend and ‘Shipmates’ him. He begins questioning the Marine on his breakfast choices, and says something along the lines of, “what kind of communist puts ketchup on his eggs?” I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do know that particular Marine never invited himself to sit with me again. End of random sea story.
And that is why ketchup in my mind with is forever linked to communism. There’s other reasons too, but that’s the main one.
Reason number two ketchup is communist: is because it’s red and the color red is a frequent symbol of communism/defiance. The tomato variety of ketchup is, in any case. Thanks to my half Filipino upbringing I thought all ketchup was made out of bananas until 1999. Banana ketchup, which is confusingly ALSO red, derived through a World War II tomato shortage and a comparatively high production of bananas. Again, WWII veterans, eating spam with ketchup made from bananas, yet another reason they are our greatest t generation.
Also ketchup is not an American invention despite its frequent use atop other ‘American’ foods, French fries (Belgian), Hamburger (German), Hot dogs (also German). Ketchup was also frequently made of mushrooms, walnuts and bunch of other weird stuff. Some Americans wrongfully believed tomatoes were poisonous until the early 1800s. I’m sure those anti-tomato Americans are the great grandparents of the silly anti-vaccinators on Facebook today.
The theory of modern ketchup I like to believe is the China theory. Many anthropologists believe that the modern word ‘ketchup’ derived from the 17th century Chinese (ketchup communist even before China was communist). In the 17th century, the Chinese mixed a concoction of pickled fish and spices and called itkôe-chiap or kê-chiap (鮭汁, Mandarin Chinese guī zhī, Cantonese gwai1 zap1) meaning the brine of pickled fish (鮭, salmon; 汁, juice) or shellfish.
By the early 18th century, the table sauce had made it to present day Malaysia and Singapore, where it was discovered by English explorers. The Indonesian-Malay word for the sauce was kecap (pronounced “kay-chap”). That word evolved into the English word “ketchup”. English settlers took ketchup with them to the American colonies.
Most of those last two paragraphs are from Wikipedia, having ketchup AND mandarin both as interests would just be weird.