February 19, 2019

Food for Thought

Pasta with tomato sauce is probably the most frequently cooked meal at home. It’s only a tiny bit harder than boiling water. Dried pasta and jarred tomato sauce last forever without refrigeration. Practically every home has them. So, why would anyone go out to eat what they can easily cook at home? That’s probably what the executives at the American fast food chains asked themselves.

But when @wandersauce and I looked through the photos posted under Jollibee, a Filipino fast food chain, we found their “Jolly Spaghetti” to be the most popular item. In fact, it’s the first thing on their colorful digital menu board. How could that be? Even though it was the least attractive option for us, we felt it was worth trying if only to put the question to rest.

I could write a few more paragraphs to keep you in suspense for no good reason, but I’m not sadistic like J. K. Rowling. It was good. Here is my theory on why. Their tomato sauce is essentially ketchup with ground meat. Of course, it’s good. The natural MSG of the tomato paste blended with vinegar, sugar, and ground meat. What’s not to like?

Americans couldn’t conceive of this because they hate to admit that they love ketchup. They feel sophisticated when they laugh at others who put ketchup on everything. But let’s face it; ketchup is great. It’s actually better than any of the jarred marinara sauces. Only the sauces made by high-end Italian restaurants can compete with the tanginess of ketchup. It’s because ketchup can so easily make anything taste great that Americans find it vulgar—because they want to believe they are more sophisticated. It’s like their relationship to television. Netflix said Americans save lots of sophisticated movies to their watchlist but when the time comes to actually watch something, they end up watching vulgar, superficial shows.

I think Filipinos do not have the same hang-ups about ketchup, so it was an obvious choice for them to offer it on their fast food menu. The Filipino executives were probably wondering why no American fast food chains offer spaghetti. Pasta Ketchup should indeed be America’s favorite fast food.

#pasta #spaghetti #ketchup #filipinofood #queenseats #fastfood