ketchup bottles

Columnist Sam Schwierking staunchly believes ketchup should NOT go on a hot dog. 

Over the last couple of days, I had an epiphany of what I wanted my opinion articles to be about. There are many great opinion writers at the Iowa State Daily, but most of them focus on more serious but important topics. Even I fell into that category in my first two weeks of writing my columns, but I want to bring a more lighthearted and fun side to the Iowa State Daily columns with "Sam’s Unpopular Opinions!"

As most of my friends know, I tend to be the person that is always very opinionated about the most trivial and unimportant things (gladly so), and I would like to share that with the Iowa State community. In doing so, I hope I can spark your own lighthearted debate — especially during this time — where debating is so polarized and nonexistent. So, without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Why ketchup does not belong on a hot dog

For as long as I have been alive, I have always been a strong believer that putting ketchup on a brat or a hot dog is wrong, but now I have the facts reaffirming it is true that ketchup on a hot dog is far from acceptable.

When doing my research, I strummed upon The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council where I have filed through the many files they have on the etiquette for eating a hot dog. The official rules when it comes to smearing ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18 is not allowed. The only listed condiments allowed on your hot dog are “mustard, relish, onion, cheese and chili.”

The reason why putting ketchup on your hot dog is such a sin is because ketchup makers add 11 grams of sugar to a 20 oz bottle of ketchup. More importantly, the sugar doesn't allow for the highly acidic tomatoes to be less aggressive to your tastebuds when eating, but subsequently, it has that effect on the entirety of the hot dog. It becomes the same argument as putting barbecue sauce on a filet mignon. It completely ruins the flavor that is provided by the way the meat is cooked and cured.

Kids under the age of 18 get a pass on the rule. This is because of the biological level to want and crave sugar as children grow up. When you are a child, you crave high caloric substances because consuming these calories triggers an evolutionary advantage in terms of energy; however, this doesn't apply as much today with the high influx of available foods. As one NPR article says, “that notion is supported by the fact that sugar doesn’t just taste good to children -- it actually makes them feel good too.”

This “opinion” has been shared with many popular sought-after people, including the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, who states that for anyone “after the age of 8 an intervention is required." This is even more radical than the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

There are people out there I am sure would love to eat a hot dog with their ketchup, but is that right?

Is that moral?


If you do eat a hot dog with that amount of ketchup, do you know what a hot dog truly tastes like? I am going to let you decide that for yourself, but I will let it be known that if you are on the side of ketchup, beware of who you tell because you never know what kind of friends you are going to lose.

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(1) comment

Steve Gregg

Out here in Manhattan, hot dog carts dot the sidewalk, or they did before The Plague wiped the streets clean of normal humans. One of the simple joys of walking the sidewalks of Manhattan are street dogs, which are traditionally served with mustard. Should you be so foolish as to ask for ketchup, you may well get a sharp reprimand for violating The NYC Hot Dog Code, and brand yourself a yokel from the sticks where ketchup is poured on everything, even your shoes.

I was surprised to find ketchup full of sugar and even more surprised to find that just about everything you eat is full of sugar, as well. If you want an education in nutrition, start reading the ingredients labels on everything and note how much sugar and corn syrup is in everything. Nearly half of ice cream is sugar.

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