May 09, 2005

Paging Malcolm Gladwell

A couple weekends ago, Rose suggested, in lieu of her customary morning jog at the gym, that we walk through Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; she would then take the train from there to Yarnivore.

On the way out, we stopped at our favored corner store, Chino's, for breakfast sandwiches. Rose and I were chatting as our breakfast was being made, and so we were distracted when we were asked if we would like [something] on our sandwiches. Rose said, "Yes!", thinking the question was about salt and pepper, but I wasn't sure that "salt and pepper" mapped to what I heard.

When we stopped in the park to eat, we discovered that something mysterious had definitely been added to our sandwiches -- but it was good! We couldn't quite place it (and there wasn't much of it -- just enough to add flavor), but it was tomatoey and spicy, and given that Chino's is a corner store of the Latino variety (they are also our source for tamales), we figured salsa.

Next time Rose went back to the store, she asked for salsa on her breakfast sandwich, and they were nonplussed. They don't usually put salsa on breakfast sandwiches, they said, but they'd put some on if she wanted. Her sandwich was fine, but it definitely wasn't the sauce we had previously had.

You may be way ahead of me on this, but it turned out that the mystery sauce was -- ketchup. I don't know, man, if I'd had the connotations of "ketchup" in my mind when I had that breakfast sandwich, my reaction might well have been different. Every time someone's asked me if I'd like them to put ketchup on a breakfast sandwich, I've scoffed internally and thought, how tacky! Must we put ketchup on everything? But with salt and pepper adding a bit of spiciness, plus the savoriness of the sausage patty (which hits my taste buds in a way that's different than any of the things I would normally put ketchup on), and the whole blind-taste-test angle of it, I seriously would never have guessed that what I was eating was ketchup.

Somehow I feel this reframes the world. I am now a person who likes ketchup on my breakfast sandwiches. Dude.

Posted by Francis at 11:02 AM