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Playing Ketchup


Mike Royko, October 15, 1990: When they came in, you could see that demented minds were taking complete control and that Nodeggamra was starting. And putting ketchup on hot dogs was a real ominous symptom.

Royko, July 17, 1991: And I promise to never again make snide remarks about sauerkraut on hot dogs. Or even ketchup, although Dirty Harry once said that only an (obscenity deleted) would use ketchup.

Royko, July 30, 1992: This is another symptom of the general decline of standards in our society: music, literacy, civility, family values, the tasteless tomato, ketchup on hot dogs and Dan Quayle a heartbeat away.

Royko, March 25, 1993: This probably surprises tourists, yuppies and lifelong suburbanites, who have spread the myth that Chicago pizza is the cumbersome creation of Ike Sewell. They are the same kind of people who put ketchup on a hot dog.

Royko, July 29, 1993: A random survey of some of the city's traditional hot dog outlets shows a depressing, if not alarming, rise in the misuse of ketchup and the abuse of the classic Chicago hot dog.... So a good parent will say something like: "Because if you eat a hot dog with ketchup, do you know what will happen? Tonight, when you go to sleep, a giant slimy lizard will crawl through the window and gobble you all up and all your toys and our doggie too. That's what happens to children who put ketchup on hot dogs."

Royko, August 23, 1993: Mike Volgesburg, Chicago: Why is it wrong to put ketchup on a hot dog? Until you can give a logical explanation, how can you state something is wrong when in fact you can't give a reason as to why it's wrong? Comment: It is wrong because it is not right. Would you put whipped cream on a pizza? Would you put mayo on pancakes or salt on ice cream or pour milk on french fries? Remember, the Romans started putting ketchup on their hot dogs and look what happened to their empire. Within two or three generations, it was overrun by guys with names like Volgesburg wearing fur underwear.

Royko, July 13, 1995: If we ranked national problems on a scale of 1 to 10,000, flag burning would be about a 2. It's a bit more serious than the high cost of beluga caviar or the growing practice of putting ketchup on hot dogs.

Royko, October 10, 1995: Then you might have asked yourself: Is this really one of this nation's major population centers, a world-class city that has more Fortune 500 companies than any city except New York, great universities, hospitals and cultural temples? A sophisticated city that knows you put a dash of celery salt and never ketchup on a hot dog?

Royko, November 21, 1995: Yes, Sen. Moseley-Braun, who claims to be a Chicagoan, actually told [the American Meat Institute] that a Chicago hot dog includes ketchup. And it doesn't require chopped onions or sliced tomatoes or celery salt.... It is said that power corrupts. I didn't know that it brings on utter madness.


John Kass, September 16, 1998: At some Oak Park schools, this is what was served for lunch the other day: beans, yogurt, cookies and hot dogs. Combining yogurt and dogs is beneath contempt. But even more chilling is the condiment forced on the hot dogs of babes. Ketchup. That's correct. Ketchup. No onions or pickles. No tomatoes or celery salt. No pickles. Burning soft coal is uncouth. Strip mining suggests bad manners. But ketchup on a hot dog is a crime against humanity.... Ketchup is good for some foods, like scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. But ketchup on a dog is the superhighway to hell. Even on a fake hot dog.

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