[Mayonnaise and Ketchup]
In enhancing the palette of dishes, condiments play a pivotal role. This time, we delve into the history of two iconic condiments: mayonnaise and ketchup.
Mayonnaise is believed to be traced back to a sauce consumed in Mahón, Menorca, now under Spanish rule. This sauce, made from eggs, oil, and lemon juice, is thought to be its origin. In the mid-18th century, the French brought it to Paris, where the Mahón sauce (salsa de mahonesa) evolved into "mahonnaise" in French and "mayonnaise" in English, gradually gaining popularity.
In Japan, the journey of mayonnaise began in 1925 with the introduction of "Kewpie Mayonnaise." At that time, Japan faced nutritional deficiencies and was embracing a more Westernized lifestyle. Toichiro Nakashima, the founder, developed a product based on the mayonnaise he encountered during his studies in America. The brand adopted the popular American character "Kewpie" and was christened to resonate with universal affection. While globally, mayonnaise using whole eggs became the norm, Kewpie Mayonnaise enhanced its nutritional value using egg yolks, crafted flavors appealing to Japanese taste, and soon graced dining tables across the nation.
On the other hand, the origins of ketchup date back hundreds of years to a condiment named "ke-tsiap," used in southern China. This sauce, created through fermenting fish and salt, similar to fish sauce or fish paste, found its way from Asia to Europe during the 17th century, propelled by burgeoning East-West trade. In Europe, ketchup transformed significantly, expanding beyond seafood to include not only oysters and lobster but also mushrooms, fruits, and various ingredients.
Upon reaching America, ketchup underwent a significant change as tomato ketchup emerged for the first time. The tomatoes available then were notably acidic and struggled in popularity. European settlers in America transformed them into ketchup by adding sugar, salt, vinegar, and spices, resulting in homemade tomato ketchup in many households. Eventually, mass production in factories became the norm, with America emerging as the world's largest consumer of tomato ketchup.
In Japan, during the Meiji era, the introduction of ketchup from America established tomato ketchup as the prevalent notion of ketchup. Domestic production started, and as Western cuisine gained traction, the demand for ketchup surged, giving rise to Japanese Western-style dishes like chicken rice and spaghetti napolitan.
Thus, mayonnaise and ketchup, both of which were eaten in different regions, spread to the rest of the world by chance or necessity, and through changes and developments in those regions, a variety of food cultures that are indispensable today have been fostered.
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