by food facts
by Delbert Trew
my ever-continuing hunt for information for this column, facts about
everyday, taken-for-granted items pop up on a regular basis. Here
are a few I found interesting.
as we know it today, originated in the 17th century and was called
"ke-tsiap." Over time the name evolved into catchup, then ketchup
as New Englanders began adding tomatoes to the recipe, which also
changed the color to a rich red.
The most recognized name in American ketchup history is Henry J. Heinz,
who began bottling his recipe in 1876. The product was so successful
many imitations followed. Because of copyright restrictions, other
brands had to be spelled differently. Included are Catsup, Catchup,
Katsup, Catsip, Cotsup, Kotchup, Kitsip, Catsoup, Katshoup, Katsock,
Cackchop, Comchop, Cotpock, Kotpock, Katpuck, Kutchpack and Catchpuck.
Ketchup is so tasty and nutritious it is included as a vegetable on
government approved school lunch menus. Now, I challenge readers to
read and repeat the various ketchup names above as fast as possible.
Don't lose your false teeth.
many of you know that "pinto" in pinto beans is a Spanish word meaning
"painted." Some pinto bean afficionados claim God paints each bean
different. Amazingly, as each bean cooks, it changes into a beautiful
These spotted, painted beans originated from common beans with the
Latin name of Phase Ius Vulgaris originating in Peru and scattered
all over the world by traders. As a small boy I remember my mother
"counting beans." Only after a few years in school did I learn she
was not counting but searching for small rocks to cull.
you believe chili
came from Mexico, you are wrong. This "hot as hell's brimstone" recipe
is pure Texan and was once preached against as creating "passion"
and called "the soup of the devil." All this publicity probably contributed
greatly to its popularity.
The truth about the origins of chili can be found in the research
by Everrette DeGolyer, a Dallas millionaire who loved chili. He states
that chili was first concocted about 1850 by Texas travelers and cowboys
who made "chili bricks," which did not spoil in transit and could
be easily melted in hot water over a campfire.
Actually, the chili brick is similar to "pemmican" made and carried
by Indian travelers and mountain men of old. The overabundance of
hot peppers, salt and flavoring helped preserve and keep the product
from spoiling. The many camp followers of the early Texas Republic
armies made a similar "stew" of goat meat and venison.
Legend connects chili with mostly poor people because the recipe used
economical ingredients or "whatever was at hand." Early Texas prisons
claim to be the originators of authentic Texas chili as they used
the cheapest, toughest, stringiest meat chopped into small pieces
and cooked until it was tender and edible. After being released, many
prisoners wrote back to get the recipe as it was remembered by all.
One hotly contested question among chili eaters today is ... If you
add pinto beans or ketchup to chili, is it still chili? After eating
a big helping of chili, I always debate the answer while waiting for
my Maalox moment to kick in gear.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
May 22, 2005 Column