Waiter pouring ketchup onto a paper plate at The Apple Pan, on Pico Blvd., a busy counter dating from 1949, that serves nothing but burgers, sandwiches and pies. Photo to illustrate a story about old–fashioned hamburger stands, and how the hamburger is the iconic L.A. snack.  (Photo by Ricardo Dearatanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Ketchup's Many Iterations Throughout History
By Nick Johnson
While ketchup is an incredibly popular condiment in the U.S., with over 300 million Americans eating ketchup, ketchup has an interesting history involving several recipe changes. However, the earliest historical mentions of ketchup can be dated back to before the U.S. was even founded.
According to History, ketchup first appeared in ancient China; pronounced 'keo-chup' in the Southern Min dialect, it was a pungent fermented sauce made of fish guts, meat offal, and soybeans. The condiment then began to migrate, eventually settling in parts of southern Asia, where British colonizers exploring the area in the 1700s brought it back home with them (per Smithsonian Magazine).
After arriving in England, it quickly became a staple sauce, and the first-ever European recipe for English Catsup was published in 1758's "The Compleat Housewife," per NPR, with an anchovy base and blend of spices. Decades later, America entered the ketchup game when Philadelphia scientist James Mease introduced the first tomato ketchup recipe in 1812.