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  #1  
Old 08-03-2010, 09:45 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Why is purple ketchup disgusting?

(Note to mods: Yeah, it looks like a food discussion but really it's a science question. Read on...)

A friend recently made a reference on facebook to the Heinz company's unfortunate experiment with multiple hues of ketchup. The colored ketchups came out in 2000, and were off the shelf by 2006.

Available colors included included green, pink, orange, teal, and blue, but particularly memorable was the purple ketchup.

I think I am not alone in finding purple ketchup not merely unappetizing, but actually revolting. As in sickening. As in, I get a little nauseated even thinking about eating it.

But why? Why would the thought of purple ketchup be revolting? After all, it's perfectly edible. It's ketchup! And besides, I eat other purple foods (eggplant, purple onions, occasional purplish potatoes, and purplish looking "blue" corn).

So why the revulsion at purple ketchup? Is it just some neurosis entirely personal to me? Or is there some scientific explanation as to why food in unexpected colors sets off gastrointestinal alarms?
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2010, 10:00 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Originally Posted by Spoke View Post
Is it just some neurosis entirely personal to me? Or is there some scientific explanation as to why food in unexpected colors sets off gastrointestinal alarms?
Kamaboko (fish mash) and Jello (dissolved cow hide) fairly conclusively prove that food need look nothing like its original to be ingested. If you grew up being served purple ketchup, without anyone ever telling you that ketchup came in any other color nor you ever seeing ketchup of any other color, you wouldn't think a thing of it.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 08-03-2010 at 10:02 PM..
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:10 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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If you grew up being served purple ketchup, without anyone ever telling you that ketchup came in any other color nor you ever seeing ketchup of any other color, you wouldn't think a thing of it.
That may be so, but it doesn't quite get to the question I am trying to answer: why would food in an unexpected color cause revulsion? Is there an evolved response at work here?

(For the record, you're not talking to a fellow with a weak stomach. I am the guy who laughed in the face of death and made a stew from 20-year-old-vegetables!)
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:15 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread. Purple sounds very much like rotten tomatoes. Blue or green, I think, wouldn't trigger my spoilage reflex.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2010, 03:46 AM
BaconAndEggs BaconAndEggs is offline
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It's because people are used to seeing red ketchup. It triggers something in them that ketchup is not supposed to look that way. It's purple food coloring on ketchup, but people must see the red. They are accustomed to it.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:40 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread. Purple sounds very much like rotten tomatoes. Blue or green, I think, wouldn't trigger my spoilage reflex.
Blue wouldn't? I can't think of any colour more likely to evoke images of food spoilage than blue. What's blue and edible in nature?

In case you can't tell, blue is the only food colour I won't eat. I don't find the thought of purple particularly revolting. Green is bad for some things (eggs and ham come to mind...), fine for others.

I call my second daughter a "red-ivore". If it's red, she'll eat it. That's mostly fruit (apples, watermelons, cherries, strawberries) but also tomatoes, capsicums, carrots (close enough) and cocktail frankfurts. I do wonder if there is some evolutionary psychology at work there because a lot of foods do use red as a signal "I'm ready to eat"
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:54 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Blue wouldn't? I can't think of any colour more likely to evoke images of food spoilage than blue. What's blue and edible in nature?
Blueberries
Blue corn
Plums, grapes, blackberries, etc. can all look quite blue
Some potatos

And of course, the blue mold in blue cheese.
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2010, 05:01 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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Most of those are purple on the inside. In fact, the blueish dust on the outside of some plums is actually a form of mould - and I would wash it off, personally.

I googled images of the blue corn. Man, that stuff is surreal. I wouldn't be able to eat it. Maybe if I'd grown up with it. But I don't eat blue cheese either. It's blue! Also, mouldy...
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:03 AM
qpw3141 qpw3141 is offline
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Green is bad for some things (eggs and ham come to mind...)
You do not like green eggs and ham?
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2010, 06:28 AM
Mijin Mijin is online now
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I think it might be the particular colour they've used, which kinda looks like grime if anything.

As others have pointed out, there are plenty of purple foods, and I haven't heard of anyone being revulsed by foods of that colour before.


I've read of experiments showing an instinctive aversion to foods considered dirty. But I'm not sure if these instincts would be triggered by food being an unfamiliar colour.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:33 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is online now
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It may be that the problem is not with any particular color per se, but rather the use of an unfamiliar color for something we're used to seeing that suggests that it's spoiled. I.e., the revulsion isn't "it's turned purple" but rather just "it's turned."
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:35 AM
Lips_Obsession Lips_Obsession is offline
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I remember when Burger King was using the colored ketchups in their kids meals. Our local establishment would give them out to anyone, and I can remember getting the purple and green ones several times. The green one just looked wrong and did taste slightly different. The purple one tasted about the same, but it was odd not seeing red ketchup. I was glad when they stopped that experiment.
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  #13  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:36 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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... After all, it's perfectly edible. It's ketchup! ...
There's a contradiction here ...
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:41 AM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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My husband loves ketchup, so I bought him some of the green when it came out as a gag. (Myself, I don't use much ketchup at all.) It was a disaster.

It tasted absolutely fine. But it's appearance on the plate was gross. Not when you first squirted it out, but after - when you'd smeared it about on the plate, getting up bits with a french fry. In this state, it went from it's bright hunter green to something, well, much more mold colored. The Mister couldn't finish it - he went and got some BBQ sauce or something for the remainder of his dinner. We ended up throwing the rest of the bottle away.

Food appearance counts more than we give it credit for, it seems.

Last edited by Snickers; 08-04-2010 at 08:42 AM..
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  #15  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:49 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread. Purple sounds very much like rotten tomatoes. Blue or green, I think, wouldn't trigger my spoilage reflex.
Blue wouldn't? I can't think of any colour more likely to evoke images of food spoilage than blue. What's blue and edible in nature?
My friends used to buy this stuff for their kids back when it was available. The blue and teal were the worst ... looked like the kids were dipping their fries in tempera paint.

The green ketchup almost worked, though. Could've been a faux "ketchup verde" has it been more of a dill-pickle color, rather than bright Kelly green.

There's some hot dog relish out there that's dyed electric Kelly green -- I ate it at a small hot-dog-specializing diner in the Chicago suburbs circa 2000. That relish's color makes it rather unappealing.
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  #16  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:56 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Also, condiments generate probably more overall brand loyalty than any other food. There are lots of things that people are willing to buy other brands of or generics depending on convenience and price. Not so with condiments.

For me, my ketchup must be Heinz. My mayonnaise must be Hellmans. Anything else is just wrong.

Making something a weird color will make almost any food less appetizing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the effect was particularly strong with a condiment.

And ketchup is frequently used by kids, who tend to be suspicious of anything new and strange, so I imagine that had a disproportionate impact as well.
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  #17  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:32 AM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is offline
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My revulsion to the purple ketchup, probably stems from the fact that I associate purple paste with something sweet like grape jelly, and so tasting a ketchup flavor with that would be so unexpected as to turn my stomach. For example suppose you took a bite of what you thought was strawberry mousse but which suddenly turned out to be smoked salmon mousse.
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  #18  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:33 AM
glowacks glowacks is offline
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Originally Posted by Snickers View Post
Food appearance counts more than we give it credit for, it seems.
I was going to say that just about every single mass-market food item has a bit of some sort of coloring in it so that the food looks the right color, but a quick look over stuff in the fridge makes it only partly true. Here's some colorings I found:

I can't believe it's not Butter spray - Beta Carotene for color.
A1 steak sauce, both regular and thick and hearty - Caramel color
Vlasic sweet relish - blue and yellow food coloring
Vlasic Bread and Butter Chips - yellow food coloring
Marzetti's Raspberry Vinaigrette - Red food coloring
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  #19  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:40 AM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
My revulsion to the purple ketchup, probably stems from the fact that I associate purple paste with something sweet like grape jelly, and so tasting a ketchup flavor with that would be so unexpected as to turn my stomach. For example suppose you took a bite of what you thought was strawberry mousse but which suddenly turned out to be smoked salmon mousse.
This is what I was going to say. If I see something purple in a squeeze bottle, I have a hard time not thinking of it as grape jelly, and the idea of putting mustard and grape jelly on a burger is not particularly appealing.

Last edited by cjepson; 08-04-2010 at 09:42 AM..
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  #20  
Old 08-04-2010, 01:04 PM
Corner Case Corner Case is offline
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Colors, shapes, and foods go together the way we are brought up to expect them, in addition to how well they taste.

I think the majority would expect to dip french frys in ketchup but would not put catsup on potatoes. And similarly butter on a baked potato but not dipping frys in butter.

I used to like mayonnaise sandwiches, and wouldn't reject one but prefer something else. I also like dipping pizza in ranch dressing. Those color (and taste) combinations might be revolting to people who hadn't experienced them.
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  #21  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:02 PM
Althea Althea is offline
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I think part of the problem with the purple ketchup was that it was vaguely pearlescent. It really looked more like hand soap than food.
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  #22  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:31 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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An interesting question. I have huge hang-ups with food being the wrong color. I also have a hang-up about red ketchup. I can eat other red things, including spaghetti sauce, but not ketchup, because it looks like blood. I think I’d actually rather eat a French fry dipped in blood than ketchup, as long as it was my own.

I know, it just makes no sense.
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  #23  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:37 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread.
As a kid I used to make blueberry muffins from a Pilsbury blueberry muffin mix. The recipe calls for draining the blueberries. I never did. Instead I mixed in the blueberry juice into the batter. What came out were the most delicious, fluffy and large blue green blueberry muffins. Since they look thoroughly disgusting, grossly moldy and inedible to everyone else, I got the whole dozen for myself.

Still works as an adult, too.
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  #24  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:38 PM
Fuzzy Dunlop Fuzzy Dunlop is offline
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Originally Posted by yabob View Post
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... After all, it's perfectly edible. It's ketchup! ...
There's a contradiction here ...
Yes that's a good point. Ultimately purple ketchup is disgusting because it tastes like ketchup.
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  #25  
Old 08-04-2010, 02:42 PM
Asympotically fat Asympotically fat is offline
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Some US states used to mandate that butter subsitutes like magarine had to be coloured pink to distinguish them from real butter. These laws (which were struck down by the supreme court) were driven by the diary industry in order to make magarine unappaeling.
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  #26  
Old 08-04-2010, 03:05 PM
jasg jasg is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread. Purple sounds very much like rotten tomatoes. Blue or green, I think, wouldn't trigger my spoilage reflex.
I used to stop grad school roommates from drinking my orange juice by keeping it in a clear container and adding a drop or two of blue food coloring.

It came out a lovely shade of chartreuse - which no one else considered drinkable.
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  #27  
Old 08-04-2010, 03:48 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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I like diced onions and dill relish on my hot dogs, but it's a pain in the ass to chop onions everytime I prepare a hot dog. So, I started mixing them together. The pickle juice preserved the onions and I could spoon them both out at once. Well, one day I had some purple onions...

Now I have some 600 grams of onion relish that I know damned well is quite delicious, but I have trouble eating it because the stuff is a kind of pinkish purple. I suspect that the same color wouldn't prevent me from enjoying some kind of jelly, but it doesn't look like it should taste like relish. It doesn't look like it belongs on a hot dog.
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  #28  
Old 08-04-2010, 04:07 PM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
In case you can't tell, blue is the only food colour I won't eat.
My wife's aunt has this particular aversion as well. I mean, to the point of picking out blue M&M's and throwing them away, or refusing to eat a cupcake or piece of cake with even a trace of blue frosting on it. Intellectually she knows it's safe to eat, but claims she'll actually gag if she tries to eat it. (On this I must take her word; I've never seen her make the attempt.)

I've always found this exceedingly weird.
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  #29  
Old 08-04-2010, 04:33 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Some US states used to mandate that butter subsitutes like magarine had to be coloured pink to distinguish them from real butter. These laws (which were struck down by the supreme court) were driven by the diary industry in order to make magarine unappaeling.
Even after that was struck down in 1902, the ruling still allowed laws that made it illegal to sell yellow-dyed margarine. There were also federal taxes on margarine, which differentiated between colored and white margarine (no civil rights for butter substitutes?). At one time, margarine manufacturers packaged a little capsule of yellow food coloring with the margarine so that consumers could dye it yellow themselves. That persisted through WWII.

Up until quite recently, laws against dyed margarine continued to exist in Quebec, Canada. They repealed it in 2008.

In the US, federal taxes on margarine, colored or otherwise, persisted until the Truman administration. A timeline:

http://www.margarine.org/historyofmargarine.html

From 1902:
Quote:
Amendments to the Federal Margarine Act raised the tax on colored margarine five-fold, but decreased licensing fees for white margarine. But demand for colored margarine remained so strong, that bootleg colored margarine flourished.
Bootleg margarine ... what a concept. One imagines oleo-runners in souped-up Hudsons with secret compartments of yellow dyed spread under their floorboards evading the dairy-board police ...
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  #30  
Old 08-04-2010, 04:36 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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I like diced onions and dill relish on my hot dogs, but it's a pain in the ass to chop onions everytime I prepare a hot dog. So, I started mixing them together. The pickle juice preserved the onions and I could spoon them both out at once. Well, one day I had some purple onions...
I wonder how that happened? The brine made chopped white onions turn purple?
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  #31  
Old 08-04-2010, 04:55 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
I like diced onions and dill relish on my hot dogs, but it's a pain in the ass to chop onions everytime I prepare a hot dog. So, I started mixing them together. The pickle juice preserved the onions and I could spoon them both out at once. Well, one day I had some purple onions...
I wonder how that happened? The brine made chopped white onions turn purple?
No, the brine made chopped purple (or "red") onions continue to be purple.
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  #32  
Old 08-04-2010, 04:59 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Now I have some 600 grams of onion relish that I know damned well is quite delicious, but I have trouble eating it because the stuff is a kind of pinkish purple.
I guess you might have trouble eating Yucatecan pickled onions, which are a traditional topping for cochinita pibil (the iconic dish of the Yucatan.)
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  #33  
Old 08-04-2010, 05:06 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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There's some hot dog relish out there that's dyed electric Kelly green -- I ate it at a small hot-dog-specializing diner in the Chicago suburbs circa 2000. That relish's color makes it rather unappealing.
That's Vienna Beef's Chicago-style relish. And here it is on some bastard child of a hot dog. Vienna Beef wants you to believe this relish is part of a genuine Chicago hot dog, but it's just Vienna Beef marketing. Even at places which do the full to-spec "Chicago-style" hot dog (which isn't even necessarily the predominant form of hot dog in Chicago), they often (usually) substitute normal relish for the neon-green crap.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-04-2010 at 05:07 PM..
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  #34  
Old 08-04-2010, 05:08 PM
TerpBE TerpBE is offline
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Purple ketchup might also be more disgusting to you because it's "close enough" to normal that it can seem like regular ketchup that has something wrong with it. If it's bright green or blue, your brain probably sees that as a novelty that it interprets as something other than ketchup. Whereas purple is close enough to the dark dried-up ketchup that collects around the cap that rather than thinking, "hey, this is something new!" you think "Hey, this is ketchup, but there's something not right with it."

It's probably like if you saw a pair of light tan socks and thought they looked dirty/dingy/old because you're more used to seeing bright white. But if you see dark brown socks, you don't think think they look "dirty" because you're not comparing them to white socks in your head.
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:15 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is online now
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Purple ketchup might also be more disgusting to you because it's "close enough" to normal that it can seem like regular ketchup that has something wrong with it. If it's bright green or blue, your brain probably sees that as a novelty that it interprets as something other than ketchup. Whereas purple is close enough to the dark dried-up ketchup that collects around the cap that rather than thinking, "hey, this is something new!" you think "Hey, this is ketchup, but there's something not right with it."

It's probably like if you saw a pair of light tan socks and thought they looked dirty/dingy/old because you're more used to seeing bright white. But if you see dark brown socks, you don't think think they look "dirty" because you're not comparing them to white socks in your head.
Good point. Marketing FAIL: Uncanny Valley salad dressing.
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  #36  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:56 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Purple ketchup might also be more disgusting to you because it's "close enough" to normal that it can seem like regular ketchup that has something wrong with it.
I don't think that's it. The blue stuff is pretty disgusting too.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:09 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Bootleg margarine ... what a concept. One imagines oleo-runners in souped-up Hudsons with secret compartments of yellow dyed spread under their floorboards evading the dairy-board police ...
Go ahead and laugh. Growing up in Wisconsin we regularly crossed the state line into Illinois to buy oleo margarine since it could not be sold in the Dairy State.

Quote:
Wisconsin became the last state to repeal restrictions on margarine. (1967)
http://www.karlloren.com/Diabetes/p46.htm


Wisconsin law still restricts its use and access:

Quote:
97.18(4)
(4) The serving of colored oleomargarine or margarine at a public eating place as a substitute for table butter is prohibited unless it is ordered by the customer.
http://nxt.legis.state.wi.us/nxt/gat...ts&jd=ch.%2097

Last edited by Duckster; 08-04-2010 at 09:12 PM..
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  #38  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:13 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
I call my second daughter a "red-ivore". If it's red, she'll eat it. That's mostly fruit (apples, watermelons, cherries, strawberries) but also tomatoes, capsicums, carrots (close enough) and cocktail frankfurts. I do wonder if there is some evolutionary psychology at work there because a lot of foods do use red as a signal "I'm ready to eat"
Yep, it's a well known fact that red triggers hunger and cravings, particularly in people who need Vitamin A.
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  #39  
Old 08-04-2010, 11:24 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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Another form of Pavlovian conditioning, I think? Synaptic expectations and well worn neural nets upset by contrast. The buddha said something about it, something about bright colors and spicy, strong, flavors. If you have zen tongue and nostrils and eyes to see you do not expect the id's demands... you can live outside of your own egoistic sensual demands...
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  #40  
Old 08-05-2010, 02:41 AM
alindallas alindallas is offline
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Presentation is a very important factor in food preparation. Food coloring, fruit and vegetable waxes, etc. are rampant in our markets because they make food appear more delicious. Flip side: I would NOT buy blue meat or purple noodle soup. Black beer ... hmmm.
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:03 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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I seem to remember there being a study about this, that used pictures of food and had people explain which was more appetizing, and the natural colors won, hands down with adults, but children tended to think foods altered to look a different color were neat. Thus, I was unsurprised at the ketchup.

For me, it's just the fact that such bright primary colors are intensely associated in my mind with certain artificial flavors. I remember when I first learned that raspberries weren't blue. It blew my mind.
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  #42  
Old 08-05-2010, 08:23 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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It's not just the funky colors of ketchup that are offputting to me, but even the wrong shade or surface reflectance. Say, for example, I'm forced to eat at Sam's Club for lunch. They don't have ketchup packets, let alone Heinz or Hunt's ketchup packets, just the pump-your-own. The red color is close, but the puddle of ketchup that forms has the wrong surface reflectance. It's like the ketchup is coated with several layers of clear-coat. That certainly makes it less appealing.
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  #43  
Old 08-05-2010, 08:44 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I seem to remember there being a study about this, that used pictures of food and had people explain which was more appetizing, and the natural colors won, hands down with adults, but children tended to think foods altered to look a different color were neat. Thus, I was unsurprised at the ketchup.
That's interesting. Now that you say that, I remember a brief obsession with food coloring when I was about six. (I had forgotten it.) I was putting food coloring in eggs, oatmeal, all sorts of things. My mom indulged me. Guess the weird colors didn't bother me then. Hmm. That does suggest that maybe there is a learned response at work here rather than something instinctive.

devilsknew might be onto something with the Pavlovian idea.

Last edited by Spoke; 08-05-2010 at 08:46 AM..
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  #44  
Old 08-05-2010, 08:53 AM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
I like diced onions and dill relish on my hot dogs, but it's a pain in the ass to chop onions everytime I prepare a hot dog. So, I started mixing them together. The pickle juice preserved the onions and I could spoon them both out at once. Well, one day I had some purple onions...
I wonder how that happened? The brine made chopped white onions turn purple?
Sorry, I guess I didn't make it clear. The pigment in the purple onions leached out and turned the entire mixture a purplish-pinkish color that does not resemble food.

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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I guess you might have trouble eating Yucatecan pickled onions, which are a traditional topping for cochinita pibil (the iconic dish of the Yucatan.)
I might at that, even if my rational mind knows damned well that it's actually delicious. Then again, onions at that level of done-ness often resemble nightcrawlers to me, so maybe some color would diminish that effect.
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  #45  
Old 08-05-2010, 11:28 AM
rjk rjk is offline
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When I was growing up in Saskatchewan during the '50s, colured margarine was illegal, so it came with a little packet of bright orange powder you could mix in. It was a great advance when it started coming in a plastic bag with a little bubble of dye you could pop and mix in by squeezing the bag. Then coloured marg was legalized, but had to be much yellower than butter. I don't know if that still holds.

pulykamell, those onions look a lot like some pickled beets I've seen. Delicious!
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  #46  
Old 08-05-2010, 12:27 PM
Jackebo Jackebo is offline
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No ketchup for me

I missed out on the colored ketchup thing and glad i did. I have a hard enough time with red ketchup.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:51 PM
dobieman dobieman is offline
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
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Maybe there's an unconscious trigger or psychological effect regarding spoilage. For example, I would never eat green bread. Purple sounds very much like rotten tomatoes. Blue or green, I think, wouldn't trigger my spoilage reflex.
Blue wouldn't? I can't think of any colour more likely to evoke images of food spoilage than blue. What's blue and edible in nature?

In case you can't tell, blue is the only food colour I won't eat. I don't find the thought of purple particularly revolting. Green is bad for some things (eggs and ham come to mind...), fine for others.

I call my second daughter a "red-ivore". If it's red, she'll eat it. That's mostly fruit (apples, watermelons, cherries, strawberries) but also tomatoes, capsicums, carrots (close enough) and cocktail frankfurts. I do wonder if there is some evolutionary psychology at work there because a lot of foods do use red as a signal "I'm ready to eat"
Blueberries are a "blue" edible in nature that comes quickly to mind. Marionberries and huckleberries, in some forms, are also blue. All are extremely edible, tasty, and attractive.
In general, though, you are right in saying there are few blue foods occurring naturally or at least that has been my experience, too.
Perhaps purple reminds you of spoiled meat which can quickly acquire a purplish tinge and accompanying horrible odor of decomposition?
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Old 08-05-2010, 02:42 PM
BwanaBob BwanaBob is offline
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
An interesting question. I have huge hang-ups with food being the wrong color. I also have a hang-up about red ketchup. I can eat other red things, including spaghetti sauce, but not ketchup, because it looks like blood. I think Id actually rather eat a French fry dipped in blood than ketchup, as long as it was my own.

I know, it just makes no sense.
Oddly enough, I was going to say that the purple ketchup looks like coagulated blood and I wouldn't eat it.
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  #49  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:20 AM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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There's some hot dog relish out there that's dyed electric Kelly green -- I ate it at a small hot-dog-specializing diner in the Chicago suburbs circa 2000. That relish's color makes it rather unappealing.
That's Vienna Beef's Chicago-style relish. And here it is on some bastard child of a hot dog. Vienna Beef wants you to believe this relish is part of a genuine Chicago hot dog, but it's just Vienna Beef marketing. Even at places which do the full to-spec "Chicago-style" hot dog (which isn't even necessarily the predominant form of hot dog in Chicago), they often (usually) substitute normal relish for the neon-green crap.
For me, it's a matter of sweet pickle relish vs. savory dill pickle relish. I have never eaten chicago style neon relish so I have no idea if it is sweet or savory, or how it tastes in any way for that matter? But seeing that intense green automatically triggers a sweet ghosting response, so it might make me react adversely if I were to try it and discover it is savory dill pickle relish, expecting one thing, and getting another. Now, of course if I had some right here I could sniff it first before tasting it and determine immediately if it is sweet or savory perhaps realigning and ameliorating my reaction.

Last edited by devilsknew; 08-07-2010 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:42 AM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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I guess that color of neon green in chicago style relish makes me expect the green apple or watermelon flavored suckers/hard candy of my youth. Hence the sweet ghost, however simultaneously, their flavors don't necessarily clash and share that "green" flavonoid present in cucumber, green apple, and watermelon, collectively... so they are harmonious.

Last edited by devilsknew; 08-07-2010 at 12:45 AM..
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