01 November 2011
The Australian Ketchup Shortage
I think Australians believe that ketchup (or tomato sauce, as it's called here) is a scarce and precious commodity. Before I left Canada, I ate ketchup like a truck driver. On everything. Within reason (ketchup is not nice on breakfast cereal or Thai food). Aussies seem to be pretty content without it, and it's not a part of a restaurant's table set up (even burger joints). You have to ask for it. And IF they have it, you will be charged extra accordingly. This tends to be especially expensive with takeaway food. For example, I had a cup of tater tots at the hospital cafeteria. $2.00. Add ONE package of ketchup= $0.60. I was hoping for 2 or three packets, but I guess not! I have to say that I've gotten used to it, though. A bottle of ketchup lasts a lot longer in the fridge than it used to. That's probably a good thing, because according to Canadian standards a condiment must be at least 40% sugar to be called "ketchup". Otherwise it is labelled "tomato condiment". And the salt content is usually not helpful to your cardiovascular health either.
Nerdy moment: Did you know? Tomato ketchup is a psuedoplastic—or "shear thinning" substance—, which can make it difficult to pour from a glass bottle, though it is not a non-Newtonian fluid. Often, the neck of the bottle will appear to be blocked. A common method to getting ketchup out of the bottle involves inverting the bottle and shaking it or hitting the bottom with the heel of the hand, which causes the ketchup to flow rapidly. This technique works because of how pseudoplastic fluids behave: their viscosity (resistance to flow) decreases with increasing shear rate. The faster the ketchup is sheared (by shaking or tapping the bottle), the more fluid it becomes. After the shear is removed the ketchup thickens to its original viscosity.
P.S. Why do hospitals sell food (ie deep fried, high salt, high sugar) that put at least half the patients in hospital in the first place??