These days ketchup usually contains tomato sauce, and lots of it, but that hasn’t always been true.
In fact, ke-tsiap was originally developed by the Chinese in 1690 from pickled fish, shellfish, and spices.
The tangy sauce spread, slowly of course, and with great anticipation to Malaysia and Singapore, where British sailors discovered it being eaten under the name kechap.
When the Brits brought back samples, English chefs tried to duplicate the sauce’s texture and flavor with mushrooms, walnuts, cucumbers, and whatever else they had available.
But ketchup still had no tomatoes, which were believed by much of the world to be poisonous.
Finally, in 1792, a recipe for “Tomata Catsup” appeared in a New England cookbook, The New Art of Cookery by Richard Brigg.