Compared to its condiment brethren, ketchup has been perilously specific.
Luckily, this iconic American condiment is breaking beyond the tomato vise grip and showing up in new forms. Attention, burgers and fries: Christmas has come early.
The Santa Claus of this movement is surely José Andrés, whose Washington, D.C., pop-up, America Eats Tavern, features an entire menu of ketchups. Many of the versions are based on historical recipes, and use such unusual bases as oysters and cherries.
And in Seattle, the street-food kings at Skillet have debuted pumpkin ketchup, a follow-up to their incredibly popular bacon jam. Using the squash as a base is hardly new. According to Pure Ketchup, Andrew Smith's treatise on the popular condiment, pumpkin was historically used as a filler for cheap ketchups. But Skillet's three versions, flavored with apple vinegar, Thai coconut and chipotle, respectively, don't need tomatoes to prove their versatility.