Ketchup and Eggs is Good and Right

August 23, 2016

We love telling the stories of the stuff we ate as kids, how once we were picky and now we are grown. I only ate white foods. I ate PB&Js for a year, how cute. I subsisted only on oreos and bologna sandwiches until I entered puberty and that’s why I’m a marxist. Etc, etc.

There's something missing from this plate. Photo by Mark Weinberg

It’s fun to look back on all the allowances our parents made for us, and the ways we ate and still survived without worry for salads or grams of protein or the proper crispy skin on a piece of fish. A man eating twinkles for a month is news, but a child eating turkey sandwiches for a year is canon.

For me it was hot dogs and yogurt, those were my main food groups for a few months or maybe a year—depending on how dramatic we feel when we’re telling the story, my parents and I. There’s a photo of me naked in a high chair, smeared in yogurt, limbs in the air, mania and dairy covering my face.

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My tastes developed a bit more and then Dad began making me hot dog omelettes in the morning. Very adult. I’d sit across the kitchen island as he sliced the dogs, crisped them, took them out, put in eggs, then omeletted it all together. On the side there was always ketchup, and when I was done I’d always leave a red-smeared plate for someone else to clean up.

Ketchup and eggs together is good and right.

Ten years later I went to boarding school and ate eggs every morning, scrambled with cheese, plus a big squirt of ketchup. The eggs were never very good: They came from a box or a bottle, I think, and got cooked on a flat top, with little concern about the line between properly cooked and rubbery. The ketchup was a sort of safety, a cover-up for squeaky eggs intermingled with congealing cheese, acid and sweetness covering all flaws. This is not a time for fancy, or gourmet, or homemade ketchup. This is the appropriate use for a squeeze bottle and the little blorping noise it makes when dispensing its red gloop.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Eggs are not difficult but they are tricky. If they are a part of your life, you will mess them up every once in a while and it’s important to have safeguards, like it is to have water wings or bowling lane bumpers. Sometimes you want to revert to your less-gourmet days and sometimes you want the little protections that were afforded you back then. Ketchup and eggs is good and right. Sometimes you want something to swipe a big chunk of scrambled eggs through. Sometimes you want to leave a plate in the sink that’s smeared in red and then turn on the water and let the ketchup wash off slowly, wisps of chemically stabilized sauce swishing around like seaweed before the drain sucks them away.

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Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Henry August 24, 2016
And we all know that ketchup is a vegetable. (Millennials, think "Ronald Reagan).
mrslarkin August 24, 2016
Well, yes. The haters have no idea what they're missing. Which leaves more for us.

Chili garlic sauce is, do I dare say it, even better?
Michael C. August 24, 2016
I might be older than anyone who has posted so far but there used to a commercial on TV with Buster Crabbe, the former olympic swimmer turned actor, where he was shown putting ketchup on scrabbled eggs. Actually my dad got me started on this ages and ages ago. Best way to eat scrabbled egges and a little hot sauce or choice helps as well.
702551 August 23, 2016
I understand the appeal of eggs and ketchup, but there's a far better combo: eggs and salsa, Mexican style.

Arguably, there are other international egg condiments that might be better than ketchup, including cheese, soy sauce, New Zealand-style plum sauce, Bavarian sweet mustard and others.

Eggs are so universal that it's likely that every culture has their favorite egg condiment and for 99.9% of this planet's inhabitants, it won't be ketchup.
Lauren August 23, 2016
I love Ketchup and eggs, but my husband always looks at me weird. I used to put it on Kraft mac & cheese as a kid, and I always pull it out on American Taco night.