I Tasted Heinz Mayochup and Think It's a Mass-Produced Masterpiece
In April, Heinz launched a Twitter poll asking our Nation if we wanted the Pittsburgh-based ketchup kings to release a ready-made mashup of mayo and ketchup (and assorted spices)... even though they would have probably done it anyway.
The marketing stunt managed to create attention (as good ones are designed to do) from people who really liked the sound of it, to people that were grossed out, to people outraged that Heinz, in an indirect way, seemed to neglect that similar sauces have been incredibly popular all over the world, basically as long as the two main ingredients existed: from fry sauce in the midwestern US, to salsa golf in Argentina, to the supermarket-ready version sold by Goya for years.
Now, Heinz's Mayochup here, inside our lives. And while my first inclination was that the sauce (obviously) wasn't breaking the condiment wheel (which really should be a game show on the Food Network), I was intrigued -- even if I thought Kayup would have been a better name.
To me, Heinz ketchup isn't really ketchup. It's a simile of ketchup. A ketchup-adjacent, delicious crimson sugar-sauce. It both subverts and transcends the category of ketchup. It is to tomato-based condiments what the Doritos Locos taco is to Mexican food.
And what I tasted when I first tasted the Mayochup, I put a dollop on the tip of my finger, to which I heard Thrillist Entertainment Director John Sellers whisper "rock bottom" under his breath. But I didn't care, I tasted the same sweet, tangy, artificially familiar slice of white-bread culture that Heinz ketchup always delivered in bottle or in packet. It was a smoother, more interesting ketchup. Balanced out by the creamy blandness of the mayo (which for the record, I cannot stand in it's natural state).
It doesn't necessarily taste like those aforementioned domestic and international varieties of Kayup, nor does it taste like Micky D's special sauce, or your Aunt blending both in a bowl before a burger heavy BBQ. And it doesn't necessarily taste "better" than any of that.
More than anything, to me at least, it tastes like this ketchup (always Heinz), cream cheese, French dressing, and chopped onion dip my Mom used to make (and still makes, actually). The taste stays in your mouth for a few seconds, it lingers. It basically moves in and starts buying furniture. The Mayochup tastes like the Amsterdam street frites sauce moved to the States, met a saucy bottle of Heinz, and settled down to have family.
I put it on fries, I put it on chips -- both ruffled and otherwise -- and I even put it on a hot dog. I have no complaints. In fact, it was hard for me to stop putting it on things. Even my finger.
They key here is not treating the Mayochup as a new culinary innovation, some unheard of monstrosity, or an affront to tradition. Nor should you think it as an attempt at perfecting those pre-existing sauces. This self-described "saucy-sauce" is simply the "Heinz" of ketchup-mayo, just as Heinz ketchup is in a category of its own.
I'm very OK with that. And if you've ever drizzled some '57 over your fries, and thought "fuck yea," you'll be OK with it, too.