07/31/2020

New Science Diction Episode: Learn About The Fishy History Of Ketchup

5:08 minutes

design of typewriter with text 'science diction'Science Diction is a bite-sized podcast about words—and the science stories behind them. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and sign up for our newsletter.


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Ketchup has long been central to American culture. We use it in hot dogs, burgers, fries—and the list goes on. But have you ever wondered why we even call it ‘ketchup,’ or where the condiment came from?  

It turns out there are many words related to food—like restaurant, umami, and “rocky road”—that have an interesting science backstory. To trace the origins of these words, Science Friday’s word nerd Johanna Mayer joins John Dankosky to talk about the origins of the word ketchup, and the new season of her podcast ‘Science Diction.’

an gif illustration of a ketchup bottle being shaked and a smiling fish flops out
Credit: Daniela Sherer

Further Reading

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Segment Guests

Johanna Mayer

Johanna Mayer is the host of Science Diction from Science Friday. When she’s not working, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Attabey Rodríguez Benítez

Attabey Rodríguez Benítez is a 2020 AAAS Mass Media Science Fellow and is Science Friday’s 2020 summer radio intern. She enjoys all things science and how they intertwine with culture, history, and society, but she enjoys it more when food is also involved.

About John Dankosky

John is Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative. He is also the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England, and appears weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s news roundtable program.

Explore More

The History Of Ketchup

It turns out the history of ketchup is rather fishy.

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Science Friday Presents: Science Diction

Science Diction is a bite-sized podcast about words—and the science stories behind them.

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