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jendobyns

Ketchup & condiments in period

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Someone suggested I start a thread talking about English Katchup and as I was digging through my period cookery books trying to find the earliest possible receipt (that's a recipe to modern cooks) I realized we could play with this a bit more. There are a number of options a Pirate might have. So this should be the first in a series on period condiments & sauces.

However, none of them would be the tomato based ketchup we know today. Tomatoes are pretty much absent from period cookery books. But you might be surprised what does show up.

Early ketchup was a fish & vinegar based sauce imported from somewhere around Indonesia (exact place of origin seems to be a bit fuzzy). It was an import showing up in newspaper ads well into the 18C. It is often found alongside soy sauce (see the trend here?).

At some point we start seeing English Ketchup in these ads. And it shows up in recipe books. It's still a vinegar and fish based sauce, throw in some spices, shallots and wine, and after a week or two it's ready for consumption. Anyone who has searched online for a home made version of a Starbucks coffee can relate to the desire to make your own. Period cooks were no different in this respect.

Then there is walnut ketchup and mushroom ketchup. One thing that tends to tie the original ketchup, English ketchup, and mushroom ketchup (as well as soy sauce) together is that they all have that umami taste to them. Mushroom ketchup is a great way to add mushroom flavor to things when you may not have them around, and it would last through the season when they weren't available.

I will try to find my notes so I can provide better details on things like dates. We're in the middle of selling our house so some things are hiding at the moment. I can tell you from personal experience that both the English Ketchup and Mushroom Ketchup are quite tasty. They are also quite different from one another.

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I had read this before on the forum somewhere, quite possibly in a post by you. Personally, I would like to try mushroom ketchup.

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Could have been. No idea when/where it went, so started this one here.

Mushroom ketchup is a salty-mushroomy brown sauce. Not sure how to use it in vegetarian meals, it's great on game and beef. Typical of most period foods, it's not exactly good for people watching their salt intake *G*

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Is the "fish and vinegar" ketchup anything like the Roman fish sauce?

I believe I saw something about the mushroom ketchup at JAS Townsend (they may have a video).

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Townsend carries the same mushroom ketchup pretty much everyone does.

I need to track down a recipe for garum to compare it, but I have suspected there might be some roots there, finding a copy of Epicius (?) has been low on the priority list, though. What is it with humans and liquified fish? *L*

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It's hard for me to imagine how a walnut ketchup would taste, apart from an 'extract of walnut' kind of consistency. Was it mixed with something else?

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