Catching up on ketchup

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, you've probably heard of the hot sauce called Sriracha. It's everywhere: Mr. Tidbit opines that it might soon replace Tabasco as the word people use when they mean "hot sauce." Maybe it already has.

The most recent part of everywhere that includes Sriracha is Heinz ketchup, which, Mr. Tidbit just noticed, now makes a version "blended with sriracha flavor." This should not have surprised him, as these days every brand of every edible has a zillion varieties (and there have been more than the "57 Varieties" of Heinz products since the late 19th century). Mr. Tidbit was surprised anyway, because Heinz already makes two spiced-up versions of its ketchup: jalapeño ("blended with real jalapeños") and Hot & Spicy ("blended with Tabasco brand pepper sauce").

Mr. Tidbit, stunned, needs to spell that out: If you want Heinz ketchup, but you want it hottened up, but "real jalapeños" aren't complex enough for you, you can decide whether you want your ketchup spiked with Tabasco or Sriracha!

Tabasco is the trademarked name for the hot sauce made since 1868 by the McIlhenny company in Louisiana; Sriracha is a town in Thailand and the generic name of a particular kind of Asian hot sauce. Most prominently in the United States it is the sauce made since 1980 by the Huy Fong Foods company in California, featuring a rooster on the bottle. That product's developer, David Tran, trademarked the rooster logo but he didn't trademark the name. (Don't feel bad for him: Huy Fong can't keep up with demand for its Sriracha sauce.)

Bean wars

If Mr. Tidbit were asked to name a part of the supermarket that seemed ripe for the entry of a major new competitor, he would not have named canned baked beans. (If given the opportunity, always bet against Mr. Tidbit.) Campbell's has extended its Chunky brand from soup to baked beans, with three flavors: original, Bourbon & brown sugar, and maple bacon & beer. At one store, the Chunky beans were cheaper per ounce than Bush's, KC Masterpiece and VanCamps.

Al Sicherman