I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

Phone a friend? Or not….

Photo from Metropolitan Home

Our kitchen is a bit crowded right now.  My son and two friends are making french fries.  I am making ketchup.  (One of those ridiculous things I try just once, for fun, like making bagels, or brioche, or sushi.)  My recipe tells me to peel four tomatoes.  I don’t know how, and I think,

I should call Anne.  She’ll know how.

Meanwhile, the three teenage boys are using my son’s  favorite Christmas present, a FryBaby.  It hasn’t seen a lot of action lately (woo hoo, says I).  My son forgets how to tell when the vat-o-oil is ready.  He says,

I’ll Google it.

Now, I Google plenty.  My son consults his friends a lot too.  But I still thought it was funny that my first thought was to ask a person, and his first thought was to ask a tool.  Nothing profound there.  I am three decades older than he.  But our opposite instincts still made me laugh.

Short random takes:

  • Oddly, I’d planned to make the ketchup with no prior knowledge of the french fry plot.  I was just eager to try making ketchup with all the juicy tomatoes available at my farm market.  I get inspired to try silly recipes when I read them on the dock in Maine.  Usually I tear them out and quickly, wryly, tear them up when reality hits me again, back at home.
  • Here is my ketchup recipe, from the current issue of Metroplitan Home.  I just finished cooking it (albeit neglected and somewhat burned at the bottom of the pan, because I have been simultaneously writing this post.)  It’s much spicier than Heinz.  More adult.  Overheard; son telling friends, “I don’t know what this tastes like.  Not ketchup.  But it’s good.”
  • Oddly, the only place I could find the recipe was on Yahoo! Shine.  Two reactions:  why are so many magazines so poor at indexing their content?  (OK, I know, dying businesses don’t invest.)  Second:  Hooray for Yahoo! Shine.  We have a nice relationship with them at Daily Grommet and I think they are really trying to run good content.
  • Here’s one “No-I-am-not-crazy” reason to make homemade ketchup, that I just picked up on Yahoo!….the third ingredient in commercial ketchup is high fructose corn syrup.
  • In making this ketchup, I finished up my precious bottle of French apple cider vinegar I bought at an Irish farm market.  It’s my secret pie crust ingredient.  I hope I can find the same Stateside.
  • Teenage boys are changing.  Cooking is cool.  I took this same trio to the mall last night. Visiting Williams Sonoma was their second requested destination.  “Dinner” was first.  I was quietly waiting for “Game Stop,” but it never came up.
  • OK enough Betty Crocker.  There must be a product road map or spreadsheet I should be building.
  • My end result--took me a month to get the photo inserted here....I still sometimes use a film camera, with the whole processing lag time thing.

    My end result--took me a month to get the photo inserted here....I still sometimes use a film camera, with the whole processing lag time thing.

2 Responses to “Phone a friend? Or not….”

  1. Cindy

    Hi – I just came across your cool blog from HARO, and I’m loving it – I spent a year in Ireland in the late 70s – sob. One of my fondest memories from my childhood is being at my aunt’s house on the river and deciding to make ketchup. I put a tomato on top of an empty bottle – and figured that it would just slowly drain into it. !!! Dumb, huh? I watched that thing for days!

    Reply
    • julespieri

      Cindy….That tomato ketchup story cracked me up. Someday I’ll write a blog post about my childhood belief that I was the only person on the planet who could see molecules in the air. Your ketchup experiment is not all that dumb, comparatively. And kind of creative for a little kid too.

      Reply

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