Lockdown: This ketchup had better pass muster

Arizona had 1500 new cases yesterday. Florida’s still hovering around 1000 a day — it’s averaged this over the past five days or something like that. The latest projection I saw Monday was for 150,000 deaths in the United States by the end of August.

This last is a staggering number. Michigan Stadium, “The Big House” where the University of Michigan Wolverines play football, holds 107,601 people officially. It’s ridiculous. Largest stadium in the United States, 34th largest in the world.

If Ohio State is playing Michigan on some Saturday and some horrific thing happens and everyone in the venue dies, that’s roughly only 67% the number of COVID-19 deaths we’re expected to see by August. What would we as a nation sacrifice to keep these people alive if we could? I’m worried that people might be dying because everyone’s tired of doing jigsaw puzzles.

Who gets tired of doing jigsaw puzzles anyway?

Some days, when I recap the day’s eating, I wonder if the gluttony is related to thoughts like these. I wonder if this is how I’m coping. This can’t be healthy, and while I suspect a lot of understanding people would be willing to write me a pass on this one, I think it points to a possible inability to deal with stuff in some non-carnal way.

“Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give.” John 14 something. 27. John 14:27.

I’m willing to speculate that God can give this peace in a multitude of ways, and food could be one of them. Somehow I doubt a huge carton of hot, salty fries (which I am scarfing as I type this) is what he had in mind. Plus it doesn’t really help once I’ve digested the food, or I wouldn’t have to keep chasing them with something else.

Samuel Johnson said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but Lisa Simpson (in one of the best Simpsons episodes ever) said prayer is the last refuge of the scoundrel. I may hold with Lisa Simpson on this one. At least for starters. ‘Cause you know. Patriotism’s likely to cause me to order everything on the menu including Thank you for dining with us.

From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire.

Irrelevant quote but what a great line of verse.

I still haven’t finished that cancer center proposal outline. Gotta get it looked at sometime Tuesday or I’m going to be really stressed out. Someone requested a proposal for West Oahu that looks like a lot of fun to work on, but someone else in my department is going to work on it with the fundraiser. I did sketch an outline for them both, to give them an idea of where they might go with it. I hope it’s helpful.

I actually didn’t email that outline until just before midnight. Long story. It wasn’t difficult; I just thought I might be able to finish the cancer center thing first and I did not.

I spent a couple of hours tackling the Monster again. All three tasks. I set a hopeful goal to match last week’s goal, which I went slightly past. It wasn’t fun, but I hit the goal and it felt good.

Before I got to the West Oahu outline, I threw a bunch of yesterday’s groceries together in my first attempt at gyoza. I knew I didn’t have time to do the cooking because of laundry, so I just focused on the filling. It was therapeutic. Sometimes cooking is as refreshing as a nap, as this was. By the time I was cleaned up and the filling resting happily in the fridge, I was energized enough to get the outline done.

Normally when I make something the first time, I stick to the book so I can make sure I know what I’m doing. However, I used to work in a ramen restaurant and I’ve seen my mom make thousands of gyozas. So although I didn’t pay close attention, my guess is that it’s a pretty forgiving process, at least preparing the filling.

The supermarket in my ‘hood didn’t have any ground pork — one of the drawbacks of shopping thirty minutes before closing — and the ground turkey looked a little tired. Ground chicken it is. The main not-in-the-book thing I did was slice up some shiitakes and mix them in without rehydrating them. I figure the chopped veggies are going to throw off a bit of moisture, and I also mixed in some shoyu, sesame oil, and sake, so the mushrooms can suck that stuff up and keep all that umami goodness in the dish, rather than leaving far too much in the soaking water. Guess we’ll find out!

Did not go for a walk, as predicted. I miiiiight try to hit the beach, though.

Breakfast was (again) a couple of hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. I’m running low on ketchup and when I went to get more Sunday night at the supermarket in my ‘hood, they were no longer selling this brand I’ve grown fond of. Best Foods. Yeah, Best Foods ketchup. There’s a Best Foods mustard too. I like them both, but the ketchup especially.

Several years ago, Hunt’s ketchup bragged that it got rid of its high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient I try to avoid. So I moved my allegiance from Heinz — a decades-long allegiance, by the way — and switched. Then some time later, Heinz got rid of HFCS as well. Yay!

Have you looked at the ingredients lately? They both have it again, and for some time. Why the heck don’t brands proclaim loudly when they’ve switched back? I wonder how many people are still using these brands because they haven’t looked at the ingredients lately, assuming the product they’re consuming is the product they’ve consumed for years.

I had a teaching partner (no, not that teaching partner; another one) who was allergic to anything with corn or corn products in it. Including corn syrup. So I’m not just complaining for the sake of complaining here. It’s a very real issue.

The Best Foods ketchup doesn’t have HFCS, and it tastes really good. Possibly as good as Heinz. Now my supermarket, which got me hooked on it a few months ago, doesn’t stock it. Grrrr. There was this organic brand on sale and it doesn’t have HFCS so we’ll see what happens. I’m not optimistic.

Lunch was a bowl of raisin bran. I almost didn’t have lunch because I snacked on those Krispie Kreme drugstore shelf doughnuts again, while I was working on the gyoza filling. I needed something while I did the West Oahu outline, though.

Dinner, which I am nearly done with here in this laundry, is again a Big Mac combo. The carnal pleasure cannot be overstated here.

I listened to Yes’s YesSongs on repeat almost all day. Took a break to catch the news. Definitely one of the ten best live albums ever, right? Okay maybe twenty best. But an amazing album.

This would be a fun list to make.

I listened to the first part of the new Michael Franti & Spearhead album on the drive to the laundry. It’s pretty much exactly what you think it is, only slightly better. So far. Good vibes of course, but good beats too, and a little bit of cute humor.

I’m feeling a little restless. I don’t mean right now, but generally. Maybe I’ll go for a drive sometimes this week.

The writing partner texted me to share a couple of short stories she’s working on. She’s an English teacher and hates short stories for some reason. Of course I’m going to call her on it when I look at her work.

Sharon texted me to follow up on something she asked me to do for work. Then we chatted about a few other things.

Jennifer sent me a photo of her latest Scotch acquisition, an Aberlour 18. Heck yeah. She said someone gave it as a gift. That’s a good friend. This is the kind of bottle I give my dad as a gift, not something I get for myself. Too pricey for me.

Crush Girl texted to tell me she’s booked a short trip, so of course we talked about that a little while. I had to admit I’ve considered a weekend hop to the Big Island before summer’s up, but I’m still too much of a wuss. Maybe I’ll go camping once the parks open for camping instead.

Laundry’s about done. And so is the Big Mac.

We’re all coming out of our caves too soon. I’m convinced. So if you, like me, are keeping cooped up for as long as you can and if you need someone to connect with, please reach out here. I’m getting restless too but I’m staying in place!

6 Replies to “Lockdown: This ketchup had better pass muster”

  1. A friend of my husband’s was a Food Science major at Penn State, which for starters had I known that was a thing, I might’ve ended up there, and had an internship with Campbell’s as a taste tester. The way he described it, people want healthier ingredients–in Campbell’s case, less sodium–so they give the people what they want. Except then the people complain it doesn’t taste as good, so they put it back in. I would guess something similar is going on with the ketchup, but you’re totally right about people needing to know that. Food allergies are no joke.

    1. Well HFCS is pretty much used for one reason: it’s cheaper than sugar. I can taste the difference in soda but not something like ketchup. I wonder if people like the taste of HFCS better!

  2. Heinz 57 ketchup girl.


    An excellent article on the subject of ketchup. Which my friend Spewgie and I quoted extensively throughout our school careers. For science fairs it was always volcanoes, dairy cows or ketchup.

    And that is why I am so much fun to be around at cocktail parties. Unless the conversation drifts away from volcanoes, dairy cows or ketchup. Or catsup. Which comes to us from the Chinese word 鮭汁 (pronounced kê-chiap), a seventeenth century brine of pickled fish and spices used as a condiment. Descended from Roman garum, a fermented fish sauce.

    I was thinking of getting Heinz 57 ketchup in the handy dandy almost-a-gallon 114 oz size but was afraid I’d dunk my food right in the container.

  3. Ever tried Filipino spaghetti? The sauce is made with banana ketchup. Very sweet.

    FUN FACT: In the USA, tomatoes are legally vegetables. President Reagan tried to have tomato ketchup classified as a vegetable to reduce spending on school lunches.

    1. Yep. They also boil the noodles with sugar, making the noodles sweet too. The Filipino McD’s, Jollibee, has a few stores on Oahu.

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