The word ketchup is derived from the Chinese ke-tsiap, a pickled fish sauce. It made its way to Malaysia where it became kechap and ketjap in Indonesia. Seventeenth century English sailors first discovered the delights of this Chinese condiment and brought it west. Ketchup was first mentioned in print around 1690. The Chinese version is actually more akin to a soy or Worcestershire sauce. It gradually went through various changes, particularly with the addition of tomatoes in the 1700s, and by the nineteenth century, ketchup was also known as tomato soy. Early tomato versions were much thinner and more like a soy or Worcestershire sauce. F. & J. Heinz Company began selling tomato ketchup in 1876. By the end of the nineteenth century, tomato ketchup was the primary type of ketchup, and the decriptor of tomato was gradually dropped. Catsup and catchup are acceptable spellings used interchangably with ketchup, but ketchup is the way you will find it listed in the majority of cookbooks. Government standards for ketchup Government standard regulations for catsup basically state catsup includes: cooked and strained tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion or garlic flavors, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, mace, allspice, nutmeg, ginger,and cayenne. Old grading standards dating back to 1953 dictated that ketchup that flowed 9 centimeters in thirty seconds received the Grade A rating. The standards were revised in 1991 so that now Grade A ketchup need only ooze 3 to 7 centimeters in thirty seconds to make the grade. Yes, the old ketchup used to be much thicker.