Sep 9, 2010


Have you ever seen something in a movie and thought, 'I HAVE to do that one day or my life will not be complete?'
Well, my Aunt Carol {the one who likes to be mentioned on this blog} has always wanted to make Ketchup a la Meet Me in St. Louis. 
Since Carol and I are both TCM addicts, we watch this movie often. Our heart strings zing, our trolleys clang and our bells ding. Whatever that means.  
So, while Carol was summering {I have always wanted to summer somewhere} in Belmont Shore this year, she and my mom decided to fulfill the ketchup making fantasy. 
And here goes a blog post and photos from my mom, who documented their ketchup making debut. 

Anything that I add to the dialogue will be in red.

you will have to add the links to meet me in st louie and long beach farmers market and chase and not sure what else.  i love you me {ok mom, I will}

Dear taylor. 

Ok so cousin carol decided that she would simply die if she did not make home made ketchup.
is it ketchup or catsup, i don't know why it is spelled two different ways but whatever..
so being that i am all things fun and being that it is 500 degrees in Phoenix and due to that little heat fact there are no outdoor farmer's markets in phoenix {this is not true. there is a FANTASTIC outdoor market on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings. Heat or no heat. It's awesome.}  so she came to long beach, california to make ketchup in the cozy little kitchen in the cute little house on the hill.
we go to the farmer's market five minutes before closing so we can bargain with the people to get cheap stuff.  i know this makes you CRAZEE and run and hide your face in shame {it's true. I hate it when they bargain} when i ask for a discount or try to haggle a little but Carol is even more intense {more embarrassing is more like it} than I when it comes to getting a good deal. 
In truth it has very little to do with the kind of deal we are getting but it is just so fun for us.  So as we exit the car, knowing that we have no time to waste she hollers at me "you get after the tomatoes, i'll get the strawberries." did i mention that we were after strawberries too?  now i have.  she made jam too and one batch was not enough, it was so YUMMM did-li-umptions that she wanted more.  her strawberry jam tricks will have to be saved for another blob because two stories about red items being made into liquid are just way too much.  Agreed.

So i lickety split start looking for tomatoes; sizing up the people in the produce booths. looking for nice ripe red tomatoes and someone who looks like they would know a good deal when they see one.  Me with cash, desirous of taking a big lugg of tomatoes off of their hands, thus avoiding the pesky process of loading them back on the truck and taking them somewhere else to sell. 
I see the lovliest tomatoes and start feeling them for ripeness.  As luck would have it i also see a nice teenaged boy working in the stand.  I ask him if i can have a whole box for $15.00 i point at the big-ass box to which i am referring.  he politely says "just a minute i'll check".  He walks back to the truck, speaking a language I do not understand and comes back with a grandma looking woman.  I smile nicely, nod my head and say "i'm making ketchup."  certain she has no idea what I just said, I nod and smile more and lean in territorially toward my selected lug of tomatoes.  She snaps back a reply to the young man, and he says yes.  Then I decide that I want to pick out each and every tomato rather than just taking a pre arranged box. {I would be whimpering in the corner at this point, so embarrassed of her behavior while shooting apologetic glances at the teenage boy and his grandmother}  so i feel and examine every single tomato.  after having satisfactorily piled up my "stack o maters" i pick up the box and my oh my is it heavy.  
i tromp down the asphalt aisle looking for cousin carol who has gone after the strawberries.  reminiscent of the scene in Sex and the City ( Movie #1 where Miranda and Steve agree to meet on the Brooklyn Bridge ) {I could only find the French version of this clip. Enjoy}  look through the crowd and over the tops of people's heads eager to find Carol and show her my tomato booty.  You know like pirate's booty, only different.  So i spy her in the crowd and we make eye contact.  She can see that I am carrying a big box, I can see that she is carrying a big box we know that we have scored and then i think "Was I suppose to get the tomatoes or the strawberries?"  I begin to panic; then i see that she has little red things in her box and they are indeed strawberries.  She is pleased as punch with the tomatoes and the price and we tell each other that we did a good job and go home.  

i decide that i got 30 lbs of tomatoes and tell everyone.  the neighbors, the husband cousin who is back home in phoenix, you, everyone who will listen.  we decide that the tomatoes need to sleep outside overnight for maximum freshness.  then we begin to worry about squirrels and parrots eating them so we decide against it and bring them in to the kitchen table.  

the next morning we begin our work.  but first we decide we should weigh the tomatoes to determine how many lbs we got for $15.00
having no produce scale in the house i step on the scale to confirm my weight, then i step on the scale with the tomatoes.  22lbs of tomatoes!  

please note the reason this ketchup making notion is even in cousin carol's pretty little blonde head is that she once {once? more like once a week} watched Meet me in St. Louis and evidently {evidently? like, you've never seen it mom? how is that possible?} there is a ketchup making scene in that movie.  In the movie, during the process, the neighbors, friends, sisters, brothers everyone traipses through the kitchen and tastes the ketchup, saying cute things like "oooh just a little more salt"..."Yumm needs more pepper"  "just right..." and so on and so forth.  So she is expecting imaginary people to just happenstance by the kitchen while we are making this and participate in her fun.  

so we find a recipe on the world wide web.  after much comparing and printing and reading the recipes out loud to me she decides.  
I'd post the recipe but i can't imagine that anyone in their right mind would make it so I'll continue with no recipe. Good point.

Essentially, making ketchup involves mashing up tomatoes, cooking them, straining them, making spicy vinegar, adding the spicy vinegar, adding sugar and cooking until 30 lbs of tomatoes reduce to two jars.  

So as you can see from the photos  we followed the directions, had one very handsome and complimentary taster, stirred, poured sugar and TA DA ketchup.  
cousin carol may now check this item off of her "things to do before i die" list and i am still wiping tomato juice off of the cabinetry.  
The next week we made hamburgers and decided that this was the best tasting ketchup we'd ever had.  
Actually, it was not so special so we decided never to make ketchup again.  the end.  
ps- my favorite part was making the cute little bag of spices tied in cheese cloth.  it is called the bouquet garni.  that is french for cute little spice bag.  it goes into the vinegar. 
More photos:
One Lugg. Sung to the tune of Bob Marley's 'One Love.'

tomatoes- some say
Mashed tomatoes- ain't as good as the 'taters.
bouquet garni- not a feminine hygiene product

my favorite spoon- I always feel so powerful and professional when I stir with this

almost done- are we there yet?


Mary Rushton said...

Okay Tay, I officially know that you are indeed related to me. I too have made ketchup because of "Meet me in St. Louis". I tried to "make" Cary Grant because of "An affair to Remember", but he never got back to me! I LOVE good old movies!!!

Sandy B. said...

nice job with the edits missy. do you think the heinz ketchup people will call me today? you know for a publicity shoot?

p.s. chase looks so handsome on your blog.

SM said...

I think this post was fantastic, and although Sandy did mention the katsup (that's my preferred spelling) wasnt amazing, i too am tempted to try it. Tay, maybe we need to christen Phoenix with homemade katsup... my last note is that you may want to mention the specialness of the parrots (i feel most people might not understand/question your alcohol consumption...)

Taylor K said...

Excellent point, SM. It sounds so mysterious when you only use your initials. While my mom does enjoy her vino, it has not gotten to the point that she is hallucinating. We have wild parrots in Belmont Shore. They are super annoying and I HATE them.

You can read about them here;

Taylor K said...

And yes, Steph. I think we should make some Katsup. Maybe pugsley could help us with the taste testing?

Anonymous said...

mmmm, you whenyou make your ketchup you should add some garlic... and make it a little spicy and then send some to me!!

Anonymous said...

I love this:) Love, Alana:)

Post a Comment