Wooden spoon of ketchup above bowl of ketchup
Is There A Distinction Between Ketchup And Catsup?
Catsup and ketchup are easy to confuse, as their names are extremely similar, and there's even debate over whether they're two different condiments or exactly the same thing.
Some argue that ketchup and catsup are different spellings of the same thing, with "ketchup" being the more popular spelling while "catsup" and "catchup" are alternatives.
All of these names are descended from Chinese "ke-chiap" and Indonesian "kicap" condiments, which European travelers brought home with adapted names and recipes.
However, others argue that catsup is a distinct condiment from common tomato ketchup, with a thinner consistency and additions like walnuts, mushrooms, and anchovies.
In fact, early versions of both ketchup and catsup did not contain tomatoes. Most recipes used vinegar, white wine, anchovies, and shallots, along with other ingredients.
The ketchup condiment and name we know today were created by the H.J. Heinz company, and other companies changed their products to conform, resulting in catsup being less known.