The first reference to the word ketchup that I could find, dates back to the 17th Century. The “sauce” originally came West from China.

The first time the word ketchup made it into print appears to be 1690.

The Chinese version was more like a soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. It was not ketchup or catsup as we know it.

The condiment went through a number of changes, with tomatoes becoming the real game changing ingredient in the 1700’s.

During the 19th Century, it was known as “tomato soy.”

F. & J. Heinz Company started to sell tomato ketchup in 1876. By the end of the century, the word tomato was removed and it became known in America as just ketchup.

Interesting to note, during the 1800’s in Britain, it was called ketchup and in America, it was usually called catsup.

No one knows why the two countries had the same basic product, yet they called it different names.

But, many in America pronounced catsup like ketchup anyhow.

Today, both countries call it ketchup.

A episode (season 6) of a popular television series, “Mad Men” led to renewed interest in the catsup versus ketchup controversy.

At the the time, Slate reported:

“According to a Heinz spokesperson, Henry John Heinz first brought his product to market as "Heinz Tomato Catsup," but changed the spelling early on to distinguish it from competitors. Del Monte did not switch spellings until 1988, after it became clear that ketchup was the spelling of choice for American consumers. Hunt's switched the name of their product from catsup to ketchup significantly earlier.”

The above news was reported by

If you didn’t know this previously … there is no difference between ketchup and catsup. They are the exact same thing.

Over the course of hundreds of years, the name ketchup has won out versus catsup.

This issue is now settled once and for all.

It’s ketchup … not catsup.

SOURCES:, Wikipedia: ketchup, ketchup guide.

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