I am a person of simple pleasures. So much happiness is found in really simple things: Flower petals cascading from the trees like a spring snow shower. A goofy labrador meandering from its owner. A young’un giving up his seat for the elderly on the subway. The addictive chorus of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Sweet potato fries that make you want to kiss the earth from whence it came. And so forth.
All this is to say that one of the best products I’ve had from Trader Joe’s is not of the complicated, random or inventive variety. Not the chocolate dipped almonds, the quirkily packaged pita products, or newfangled soy interpretations (such as corn dogs and wannabe chicken nuggets). My favorite product is extremely simple: plain ol’ Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup.
My apartment runs through this stuff like nobody’s business (which may or may not be attributed to one of my roommate’s steady devotion to said sweet potato fries). But I know what you’re thinking. It’s ketchup. Not truffle oil. Not garlic aioli. Not mango ginger chutney. It’s ketchup.
Do not let its pedestrian nature deceive you. I dare you to eat a fry dipped in TJ Ketchup versus one dipped in Heinz. TJ Ketchup has a bold, natural, almost A1-like taste, but the best part lies in the texture. Unlike other ketchups, which have a uniformly squeezable cohesive squirty texture not unlike that of puffy paint, fortified with high fructose corn syrup, TJ Ketchup comes out loose and almost grainy. I don’t know if I’m explaining it the best way, but you can visibly tell the difference between a generic or Heinz ketchup and TJ Ketchup. Plus TJ Ketchup doesn’t leave a lingering stickiness or smell.
The ketchup is fantastic. I will drown my soy nuggets in the stuff. I will eat it with my fried rice. I will slather my eggs with it. Alternated with my trusty Korean red pepper sauce (gochujang), this ketchup is a frequent accompaniment to my dinners.
I am not beneath licking it off a spoon, either. Love the stuff, pure and simple.
Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup: 5/5 pelts.