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How Ketchup Got Its Name

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Aug 24, 2020

Ever wonder how foods we eat every day get their names? This week, we’ll dive into the origin stories of ketchup and Rocky Road ice cream with the help of Science Diction, a podcast from Johanna Mayer and Science Friday about the science stories behind everyday words.

Ketchup started as a far different product from what’s on the shelves today. It used to be a luxury product, with a rather fishy origin. And it caught the attention of an early government experiment known as The Poison Squad. Those developments led to the creation of modern ketchup, a completely different condiment. 

The origins of Rocky Road ice cream are full of rumors and intrigue. Two companies both laid claim to the name. And it turns out, the name is worth fighting over: linguists have discovered that that particular name creates very specific, and delicious, associations in our brain. We’ll find out why, while trying to get the “scoop” on who really invented the flavor.

Music courtesy of Science Diction.  

Photo courtesy of FDA.

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