Friday, October 14, 2005


Dear Mr. Debonair:

Call me a slob if you wish, but I like ketchup on just about everything - eggs, steak, meatloaf, even gefilte fish. Is there a polite way to get ketchup to come out of a newly-opened bottle? Sticking a knife in just seems so...déclassé.

(signed) Alive or Dead, It Tastes Better with Red

Dear Alive,

Far be it from me to call you a slob on account of your love of the Great Red Condiment. While I myself might not care to enjoy ketchup on a grilled New York strip, it does add a certain je ne sais quoi - I don’t know what - to meatloaf, pot roast, and the like.

Whatever you do, though, don’t be putting it on cottage cheese. Aside from its Nixonesque resonance, that is just plain perverse. Yes it is. The principle of de gustibus non est disputandum can only be stretched so far, Sirrah.

But your question had to do with extracting the Red Gold from the bottle. And it is a conundrum to make Grown Men weep, this business of starting a fresh bottle. But once you know the secret, you need never again reach for a knife in order to Get the Job Done. Rather, you will scorn those benighted souls who do so!

Here is knowledge:
  • Remove the lid of the ketchup bottle. This is critical.

  • Invert the bottle and hold it by the neck, using your right hand. Hold your left hand a few inches to the left of the bottle, at such a height that the bottom of your left hand is at the top of your right hand (which is grasping the neck of the bottle).

  • While holding your left hand still, rap the bottle smartly against your left hand, using a twisting motion of your right wrist. The shoulder of the bottle should strike the meaty heel of the left hand.

  • A few sharp raps should be sufficient to dislodge the ketchup without causing it to dump out on your food in one noisy “splorp.” Once the flow starts, use a gentler rapping motion to get the exact amount you want.

  • This technique can be used to get practically every molecule of ketchup out of a narrow-necked standard ketchup bottle.

  • As for those squeezy bottles, what are you wasting your time reading this? Those pose no especial challenge. Squeeze away - wimp.
[Tip of the Mr. Debonair topper to She Who Must Be Obeyed, who loves her some ’chups on just about everything short of Breakfast Cereal, and who taught Mr. D everything he knows about Ketchup Extraction.]

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