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Mr Gladwell, You Saucy Thing!

This Magazine Staff

I read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest, a charming essay on Ketchup, in the food issue (September 6, 2004) of the New Yorker. I recommend it for a number of reasons:
– it reminded me of the equally charming “Legend of Pepsi AM” by Chris Turner (This Magazine, November/December 2002)
– which reminded me what a kick-ass issue the November/December 2002 issue was (yeah, we’ll get it online in the archive soon)
– Heinz Ketchup is apparently a perfect food, because it has all FIVE tastes known to the human palate, salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami — balanced in perfect “amplitude”
– Somebody named Elizabeth Rozin wrote a book called “Ketchup and the Collective Unconscious” and called ketchup the “Esperanto of cuisine”
– I learned people get their PhDs in tomatoes
– there’s all sorts of interesting bits about culinary art and science, and how statistics are used to develop new food products
And finally, it appears had it not been for Grey Poupon, we’d all still be eating French’s mustard on everything.

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