Green Ketchup? Please, I'm Trying to Eat Here

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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 ( 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.