Culinary no-no #548

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

“You eat what you like.”

First you take some uncooked bratwurst links with the casings removed.

Add in chopped onion, a chopped carrot, navy beans, pickled chopped jalapeno slices, pepper, chicken broth, flour, milk, and American cheese.

These are the ingredients for bratwurst soup.

That’s one of the many wonderful recommendations for a good soup recipe this time of year.

Another good option when it’s ice cold outside is this Milwaukee spot…

Real Chili - Marquette Special

Or the potato and cheddar at Honeypie Cafe…

Matzoh Ball Soup , Reuben at Klinger’s East…

Maybe the best. Potato and bacon soup with smoked salmon and dill at Sanford restaurant …

Soup is hot.

Soup is therapeutic.

Soup is healing.

Soup is delicious.

Soup is amazing.

You couldn’t possibly ruin any of the above.

That is unless you dilute with too much H2O, over salt, ditto with pepper, etc.

“You eat what you like.”

True. Very true.

But c’mon folks. Some things are just not right.

Recently I saw a man in a nice local restaurant about to dive into his soup bowl. But before doing so he reached for another item on his table.

I did a double take.

Never saw this one before.

“You eat what you like.”

Didn’t matter. I gotta write about what I had just seen.

Especially when I mentioned it to Jennifer and even she did a few audible and facial yucks.

Have you guessed what the man did?

Let me quote from Meredith Heil, a former National Food & Drinks Staff Writer at the website “Thrillist.”

Ketchup is awful. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

Ketchup is hands down the beastliest of all condiments, squashing beautiful flavors with (an) indiscriminate brutality… It has no regard for harmony, no respect for the craft of cooking, the love and care that goes into preparing every subtle note, every delicate detail. And to add insult to injury, those who enjoy it tend to hose down their dinner plates like they’re putting out a fire. The only thing worse than ordering a nice piece of steak well done? Asking for a side of ketchup with it. It’s a chef’s bloody nightmare.

Also, it’s flat-out terrible for you. I’m not saying mayo and mustard are the picture of health, but ketchup truly phones it in. Most name-brand varieties are loaded with not one but two different types of GMO-derived high fructose corn syrups, contain a negligible amount of actual tomato paste, and are bursting with enough sodium to kill a hamster (an untested theory, but I’d put $5 on it).

Sure, the label might claim a single serving weighs in at mere 20 calories, but how often does a ketchup head hang up the bottle after just one tablespoon?

Even I’ve fallen prey to ketchup’s command. Growing up in the Midwest, I assumed ketchup was merely part of life, squirting it onto hot dogs and hamburgers like there was no other option. I don’t remember lapping it up, but I do recall consuming it, at least until 1st grade. That was when Brendon Allen started bringing ketchup-and-bologna sandwiches to school on the daily, filling the entire classroom with a gag-inducing, fetid odor, cloyingly sweet with layers of saliva-sucking salt. The poor schlub would sit there at his desk with a fistful of oozing white bread, bright red Heinz 57 stretched across his face like The Joker. That kind of vulgarity, you simply can’t unsee.

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