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Ketchup and dips are slam-dunk for greatness

August 21, 2012 - Burton Cole (humor columnist)

As inventions go, this one ranked right up there with fire, the wheel and the remote control – ketchup packets designed for dunking.

The H.J. Heinz Co. introduced the Dip & Squeeze packet two years ago. Part of the beauty is that you can park it in a car cup holder, allowing drivers to dunk to-go fries with one hand while texting with the other and steering with their knees.

No, wait. The driver better dunk the phone in the ketchup, leave both alone, and just drive.

But everyone else in the car gets to gobble french fries with far less muss than gooey-fingered road trip meals past.

The invention is so wondrous that many wish to take a bow. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Scott A. White, an inventor from Illinois, filed suit against Heinz last week on claims that he divined the dippy pack in 2005, and that the ketchup company stole it after he demonstrated it for them. Heinz beat a similar claim by inventor David Wawrzynski of Michigan, who claimed in 2010 that he also met with company officials to show off his version of the dip dock, was ushered out the door, and his genius pilfered.

Heinz maintains it had the idea in development years earlier and the lawsuits are frivolous.

I think the furor shows the importance of ketchup, the miracle condiment that goes with everything from steak to eggs.

Years ago, a reader named Gitta asked me to solve a dispute between her and her husband. As I recall, it went something like this:

At one meal, Arv asked Gitta for the ketchup. She told him it was on the second shelf of the refrigerator. He came up blank. She – as wives are wont to do – marched to the fridge and plucked the ketchup bottle from right under his nose.

“It was right where I told you it was,” she said.

“No, you said the second shelf. That was the third.”

Gitta pointed as she counted from the bottom up, “One, two...”

Arv said, “No, no, no, everyone knows you count from the top down. One, two...”

Gitta asked me to rule on the correct answer.


“The ketchup already should have been on the table,” I said. “How can you eat a meal without ketchup?”

Gitta will be happy to know that ketchup now comes as a dip, much like the way she suspects humor writers are dispensed.


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