I don’t make my living with words (yet). I make it mixing chemicals together and praying that things don’t go boom! Seriously it could happen. I could make it happen. Um, wait, this is a public blog. I would NEVER make it happen. Yeah.
But I digress.
I like words. I understand words (or at least quite a few of them). and I like them used properly. But sometimes when they are strung together, I get scared.
The other day, I was at the grocery store in the cheese aisle when I came upon a packet of shredded orange stuff labeled—cheese food.
Now, maybe being raised in Arizona I missed something. but I’m pretty sure Cheese is food. And given that it was in an aisle surrounded by other cheeses that didn’t boast about being food and it was refrigerated, I was certain it was supposed to be food of the cheese persuasion.
But then the gears in my head started turning (yes, I have gears. Don’t judge me) and I got to wondering. Why were they telling me that this cheese is food? Was it subliminal messaging. Was some cheese say shoe polish? Or perhaps drain cleaner (I do not want to hear from the lactose intolerant) What kind of cheese (other than the wholly organic plastic cheese for a child’s grocery cart) is not food?
The more I thought about it the more irritated I became. I don’t want someone telling me cheese is food. I want to believe that cheese is food unless someone tells me it isn’t. I didn’t buy that supercilious cheese food. I bought Vermont Cheddar, because I can be proud of where I came from too (so I’ll accept that trait in cheese).
Then I wandered down the aisle and lo and behold there was a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. None of the others needed to tell me that they were tomato ketchup. I blinked, I admit it. I also felt a little steam come out my ears. Then I calmed down. Perhaps…just perhaps there was another kind of Ketchup.
When I mentioned this to my sister, she looked it up.
Ketchup was originally a type of fish sauce invented in China several thousand years ago. Tomatoes are a new world fruit and wouldn’t have been an ingredient in ketchup at the time. So Heinz gets brownie points for acknowledging they’re a usurper to the ketchup throne, and I learned something new which I may someday use in a vicious game of trivial pursuit.
Don’t ask me why some ketchups are called catsup. I’ve learned my new thing for the day. It’s your turn.