On Ketchup

Tonight at karaoke (Tuesday night is karaoke night), I asked my friend Andrew–who is a waiter–the following question:

“Andrew-Who-Is-A-Waiter,” I began, “what is the grossest thing about the restaurant business that most people don’t know about?”

Andrew didn’t pause. He said: “Ketchup.”

I looked at him with slight confusion. “Forgive my look of slight confusion,” I said, “but why ketchup?”

“Well,” he responded, “when we close up we ‘marry’ the ketchup.”

“You marry the ketchup?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes,” he answered. “We take all the ketchup and put it in this big carton. And then we redistribute it the next day. So it’s really gross–it’s like this ketchup from God knows when all combined in this big box that keeps getting recycled over and over.”

“That is gross,” I agreed.

Someone began singing “The Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie.”

“Thank you for sharing,” I concluded.

“No problem,” said Andrew.

5 comments

  1. I thought it was only “marrying” the ketchup when one bottle was stacked on top of another to refill. This sounds more like a sickening ketchup orgy!

  2. “Marrying the ketchup.” Finally an explanation as to the crowd of chefs at the same-sex marriage protest at the Georgia capitol building. The whole “only between a man a woman” clause would certainly hamper the ketchup-slinging demographic. Or we could suddenly have individual ketchup bottles dressed in little man and woman costumes so as to comply with the letter of the law. At the end of the night they would hold a sweet, little Christian ceremony and tuck them into their conjugal refrigerator. But have they thought this through? In order to repeat this practice the next night they would have to get a mass divorce in the morning, allowing the bottles to go forth as singles to sit on the tables all day. Now THAT is a threat to the institution of marriage.

  3. I don’t see what’s so incredibly terrible about it. It takes a very long time for ketchup to go bad, so whatever is being mixed in isn’t going to be that different from anything else.

  4. …i’ve worked in restaurant that does this. think about all the people who touch their food with the bottle when they’re trying to get some ketchup out, and think about the people who cut their food and shove the same knife into the ketchup bottle to get some out. think about the pieces of food and/or germs that are floating around in that ketchup bottle, and then think of them “marrying” other bottles of ketchup that have been through the same thing. i think next time you’ll ask for a new bottle, or for some ketchup packets. it’s not pretty…at all.

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