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Catch Up

January 31, 2013

Here’s the joke. The big game is on Sunday. I think San Francisco is in it this year. Presumably they are playing against some other team. I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter. Big men. Pig skin. Grunting. Commercials.

Pig skin. Sigh. Crispy, cracklin’ pig skin. Warm from the fryer and sprinkled with salt.

Damn you arteries and your plaque collecting walls. Damn you pork fat for being so freaking delicious. Damn you doctors for putting all kinds of crazy thoughts in my head about cholesterol numbers and mortality.

Oh pork fat, I could never stay angry with you. But I have been avoiding fried things for the last month and I miss them terribly. I did, however, cheat yesterday and got my first ever order of tater tots from Comfort Kitchen in Saratoga Springs with Awesome Sauce. Yeah. Those are crazy good and worth every delicious gram of saturated fat.

I’m going to try and make some kind of Buffalo seitan out of some misguided attempt to eat healthier while I drink far too much beer on Sunday night and yell at the television. You may be eating tots or some other kind of fried food that goes well with ketchup. Even if ketchup isn’t a part of your plans for the Super Bowl, it’s America’s one great sauce, and there is something you need to know.

There was some interesting research done awhile back about why there are so many mustards, but pretty much one ketchup. Of course I’m talking about Heinz. But Hunt’s does have some notable backers.

I’m not here to debate taste or talk about the ancient history of condiments.

The one thing you need to remember is that these days, much like soda, ketchup is yet another high fructose corn syrup delivery device. Yes, there are a few notable exceptions. And I’ll get to those in just a minute. But it kills me when I go to places like Five Guys that if I want to slather a sweet and tangy tomato based sauce on my fried potatoes, I’m compelled to help support our government’s misguided corn subsidies.

A while back I went on the hunt to try and find a ketchup that was HFCS free. The small “natural” ketchups all had very different flavor profile from Heinz, so those didn’t work. Eventually Heinz came out with an organic product, except that was manufactured in Canada. Not only did it taste different, but it was darker to boot.

Finally they came out with Simply Heinz, which simply replaces HFCS with table sugar. Problem solved.

Perhaps that’s why I never noticed when Hunt’s apparently made big news a couple years ago with their proclamation that they were walking away from HFCS entirely. I wish I had known, because that’s great news. It would have made me excited rather than deflated to see it on a diner counter, especially since I have yet to encounter a restaurant that stocks Simply Heinz.

But those days are already over. The grand experiment is done. With even less fanfare the regular label of Hunt’s switched back to including HFCS and the manufacturer is citing consumer demand. Here’s a quote that I pulled from

“Overall, consumer demand for the HFCS-free ketchup was not as strong as expected,” said ConAgra spokesman Jeff Mochal, “thus prompting the change.”


Given that someone like me, someone who cares about ingredients, is the primary shopper for groceries in the family, and is constantly on the lookout for new and delicious things, didn’t know about their removal of HFCS, perhaps the blame falls on their marketing communications.

At the very least there remains a 100% natural version of Hunt’s that remains HFCS free. But it’s likely that I’ll run into the same problem with that as I do with the Simply Heinz. While those bottles may be everywhere I shop, they are almost nowhere that I eat.

I guess that’s why God created mayonnaise. That stuff is awesome on fries. You know, if you aren’t trying to cut dietary cholesterol out of your life.

Dammit, that Buffalo seitan better be amazing.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2013 10:16 am

    Not to tempt you or anything…. but at the Asian Market on Colvin, you can get an entire pig top skin for 3 bucks. AND I don’t fry it. I cut it up into bite-sized pieces, boil them first so they don’t dry out in the oven, glaze them with some balsamic cream and some garlic, and pop them in the stove for a while. When they come out they’re just the right amount of crispy/chewy, sweet, salty, and delicious.

    • January 31, 2013 10:18 am

      (I only found out about the pig skin because Todd and I usually go to the market for date night. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like trying at least one new weird food, 2 rumi sodas’ and a pig skin.)

  2. Elyse permalink
    January 31, 2013 10:46 am

    Ha ha I remember that Gladwell article. I have to say, though “Simply Heinz” totally does the trick for me.

  3. Lulu permalink
    January 31, 2013 10:51 am

    i’m shocked that you don’t travel with your own ketchup supply

  4. Tonia permalink
    January 31, 2013 11:00 am

    Dan, BYOK. I too, purchase the Simply Heinz. Not to get into a flavor debate, but I’ve always disliked the flavor of Hunt’s. Bleh.

    Also, I hope you post about the Buffalo seitan. I want to hear how it came out. Good luck! I love that stuff.

  5. January 31, 2013 11:20 am

    I just ADORE ketchup… I actually just read someone’s blog post about taste testing four different home made ketchups. Maybe that would be a viable option for you? I think the favorite was made from canned tomato paste.

    although, that pesky BPA shows up and ruins the party in that one.

    This summer, I plan on getting some paste tomatoes and making ketchup myself.

  6. January 31, 2013 12:03 pm

    Wait, you missed the big yellow banner Hunt’s proudly slathers across the bottle with “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”? What a bummer they are going back to it….

  7. January 31, 2013 1:21 pm

    Travel with your own ketchup. I do it with tea bags. I’ve seen ladies do it with salad dressing.

  8. January 31, 2013 1:36 pm

    I switched to Hunts a while ago because of the sugar thing. I was surprised and disappointed the last time I went to the store to buy some and found it had HFCS in it again. What a crock…I did find the Simply Heinz but am still disappointed b/c I do prefer Hunts. It tastes more tomato-y.

  9. Kate H permalink
    January 31, 2013 8:18 pm

    I’ve been buying trader joe’s for the past 5 or so years – it’s a little different from heinz but no HFCS and the price is good.

  10. February 2, 2013 10:06 am

    I eat ketchup rarely enough dining out that I don’t care if it has HFCS. I would prefer it didn’t but for 4 times a year or so, I’m good.

    We rarely eat it at home either but I do have a bottle of the HFCS free Hunt’s kicking around. I like it better than the Heinz.

  11. albanylandlord permalink
    February 2, 2013 6:05 pm

    Funny Video & Funny joke. I agree with Jen, for the incredibly few times I have Ketchup it doesn’t matter much. The Gastropub gets major points though for serving homeade ketchup with that incredible burger and fries.

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