All this talk about millennial disasters seemed so overblown.
That was until Monday, when, seven months after the New Year, H. J. Heinz decided to drop a bombshell on an American public: In an attempt to recapture the Nickelodeon market, the Pittsburgh-based condiment giant is planning to introduce green yes, green! ketchup in October of this year.
The new goop (which will apparently taste the same as the red stuff and even be enhanced with parent-pleasing vitamin C) will come in easy-to-squeeze bottles designed to emit a thin stream of shocking-green ketchup when aimed at, say, a plate of french fries (or the face of an unsuspecting sibling).
Heinz reportedly chose Kermit's favorite hue from a palette of "alternative" colors because, in the words of a company spokesperson, "it has a little more kitchen logic." In other words, it shouldn't be too difficult to associate a bottle filled with green (rather than blue or orange) goo with food you might actually want to consume.
If you ask me and for some unknown reason the folks over at Heinz didn't green is really an unfortunate choice for a condiment. First of all, there's the relish association. Relish, as far as I can tell, is the bastard child of cut-rate mustard and those icky sweet pickles.
Then there's the whole mold thing. Call me overzealous, but when I see something green in the refrigerator, my very first instinct the one they always tell you is right on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is to hold my nose, reach in and gingerly remove the offending foodstuff. (That tendency, now that I think about it, could explain why there are never any green vegetables in my refrigerator. OK, there's really nothing much in my refrigerator at all besides a jar of capers and a few cans of Dr. Pepper, but that's a different story.)
There are exceptions, of course, to my anti-green condiment rule. Green chile sauce (à la Tabasco) is passable, I suppose, but even though it's often hotter than its red counterpart, it always seems a pale imitation. Green salsa is palatable, but generally brings to mind questions I'd rather not contemplate while eating, like: How did this color come into being? What sort of bizarre food colorings am I consuming? Could I use this salsa in a multimedia performance art project?
But who am I to complain? The current scions of the Heinz dynasty obviously know what they're doing; the company's been an American icon since the 1870s. And goodness knows there's no harm in innovation. I just hope the new ketchup doesn't pave the way for a landslide of increasingly dramatic reincarnations in the condiment market or we could all spend the foreseeable future nibbling on sandwiches spread with magenta peanut butter and platinum-hued jam.