Inferior Good: Diminishing Marginal Stupidity in Action

Monday, June 26, 2006

The best ketchup

The August issue of Cook's Illustrated (subscription required) features a taste test of 8 widely available traditional Ketchups. The overall winner chosen by the 29 person tasting panel was... Hunt's! Hunt's scored highest for both taste and texture and was praised for a tangy and fresh flavor. Market leader Heinz finished in the middle of the pack, though Heinz Organic was the runner-up.

In summary, author Leigh Belanger observed that:

Ketchup is best when it's smooth, thick, and tangy, with balanced, bold flavors. The parameters are tight - not to thick or too thin, not too tangy or too sweet. Bright red, but no chunks.

[Ed. Aren't these just simple condiments? Does it really matter?] Look, I'm not a big ketchup guy. But I love mayonnaise, and I enjoy my fries much more with Hellmann's/Best Food's mayonnaise than with boring old Kraft. So yes, condiments do matter.

Enjoying all this condiment talk? Here's a Cook's tasting of BBQ sauce.

UPDATE: Dr. Vino mentions a Malcom Gladwell piece on ketchup in the comments section. You can find the article, a favorite of mine, here.


  • Interesting. A fascinating piece by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker a year or so discussed Heinz and how they hit all five taste sensations--maybe Hunt's has added umami?

    By Anonymous Dr. Vino, at 1:19 PM  

  • I too enjoyed the Gladwell article. I should have linked to it in the post.

    Maybe I'll buy small bottles of both and do a little taste test of my own.

    By Blogger Whit Stevens, at 2:39 PM  

  • I use ketchup only as an added ingredient not alone. I don't really like the taste that much but, of the few I have tried I like Hunts much better than Heinz. The Heinz is way too sweet for someone like me who prefers a vinagary taste to sweet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 PM  

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