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rEATers: The Man Who Ate Everything

Homemade ketchup inspired by the man who ate it all

This month I convinced the lovely rEATers group to dive in, head first, to one of my absolute favorite food author’s of all time: Jeffery Steingarten. As writer for Vogue, Steingarten devotes much of his time to dissecting all things food. His first book, The Man Who Ate Everything, is a collection of his essays for the magazine and discusses everything from the vegan diet and the wide variety of water types to front-of-the-house finishing school.

Some of the books more interesting topics­—the nitty gritties on ketchup, or themed restaurants—seem to be more Steingarten’s own fancy than perhaps those of his fashionista audience. But chatting about the why of Steingarten (why a Harvard lawyer is writing about food in the fashion magazine), rEATers discussed the sensibilities needed to be a lawyer—the intuitive, argumentative nature that is required of a lawyer prepared to win his case. These are the same qualities Steingarten brings to each essay, showing his reader—no matter how educated they may (or may not be) on the topic—the full story. Armed with Steingarten’s information, the reader can may make their own judgment, whether it be on Evian and Perrier, or Heinz and homemade. Inspired by Steingarten and our talk, I cooked up a batch of my own homemade ketchup (although tomatoes aren’t yet in season, so my recipe is altered a bit with canned tomatoes). I hope you enjoy, and if you haven’t read the book, it’s a must read!

Homemade Ketchup, adapted from Saveur, Issue #12
Serves: 4 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 cinnamon stick
1 28-ounce can tomato purée
2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Celery leaves
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium-sized sauce pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent, then add the garlic and cinnamon stick and continue cooking until aromatic. Add the tomato purée, brown sugar, and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Place the herbs in a piece of cheesecloth, tie with butchers twine, and add to the liquid. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, until thick.

Remove spice satchel and cinnamon stick and pulse purée in a food processor. Strain, season with salt and pepper, and store refrigerated for up to one month.

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