deird1: Mai and Zuko cuddling, with text "you're so beautiful when you hate the world" (Mai Zuko hate the world)
[personal profile] deird1
Just been having a big forum discussion about what "sauce" is.

This all started because of someone mentioning different names for different foods, depending on where you were from. And someone disputed the idea of "ketchup" being "tomato sauce".

At which point I tuned in...
Me: And tomato sauce is absolutely ketchup. Or rather... I've never seen ketchup, and only heard of it in American books/tv, in which it is being used in precisely the way I'd use tomato sauce. So if I hear "ketchup", I'm going to mentally substitute "sauce".

To which an American, appalled that I was misunderstanding what ketchup was, gave me a definition.

Helpful American: Ketchup, catsup, katsup, or any of the other ways to spell it, isn't strictly speaking tomato sauce, as I understand it. Ketchup is, according to the WikiP, "The ingredients in a typical modern ketchup are tomato concentrate, vinegar, sweetener (corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, or other sugar), salt, spice and herb extracts (including celery), spice and garlic powder. Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, onion and other vegetables may be included."

...which is what I meant by tomato sauce.

I found this confusing.

In the mean time, someone else was getting confused by me.

Confused American: So what would you call the substance that goes on pizza, to distinguish it from the stuff that goes on french fries (or substitute preferred term)?


Another Confused American: Personally, I don't know what this 'tomato sauce' stuff is. There's tomato puree, which is tomatoes plus blender, unless you're buying commercial canned stuff in which it's tomato paste plus water. From there one may add all sorts of things to it, depending on what one intends to use it for, whereupon it becomes pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce or ketchup or what-have-you.

At this point I ran off to check Wikipedia.


What Aussies Mean By Sauce

There are two relevant Wikipedia articles: this one, on "tomato sauce", and this one, on "ketchup".

"Sauce" could mean anything of that kind of gloopy consistency - although it will almost certainly be tomatoey in some way unless I specifically specify otherwise.

Then there's "tomato sauce", by which I mean ketchup. It's for putting on sausages, or maybe on hot chips, and stuff like that.

Then there's "pasta sauce", which is usually how I'd refer to tomato sauce. That's assuming it's going to go on pasta. You could, conceivably, have "pizza sauce". Although, to the American mentioned earlier, who asked what I'd put on pizza, I confusedly replied: "tomato paste, obviously". (Why would you use anything else?)

The other night I ended up solving my leftover Scotch eggs problem by having them with some heated up stuff that...
Well, I ended up describing it to my housemate as "that tomatoey, sauce-ish sort of thing, with all the chopped tomatoes in it...", because I had no idea what it had been intended for, so I didn't know what it was. Had it been for pasta? Was it pasta sauce? I was baffled.

So really, all I wanted to say was: yes, I do mean ketchup, that's what tomato sauce is.

(Also, just to stir the pot: America, I don't know where you get your weird naming conventions from, but "marinara" means it comes from the sea. It should have fish in it. The stuff you're mistakenly calling marinara is "napolitana".)

Date: 2010-11-11 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, the marinara thing BAFFLED me when I was in America. I kept seeing it listed under 'vegetarian' meals... very confusing. And as I'm deathly allergic to seafood, there was NO WAY on earth I was going to try it in order to find out that it was, in fact, vegetarian.

(This is Swellen, by the way. Not sure how to log in here.)

Date: 2010-11-12 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just realised that when Monica got covered in marinara sauce on Friends (yes, yes, I watched it enough to remember) it meant this tomato stuff and not a trace of fish! That's nowhere near as bad as what I thought!
Also I once wrote to Subway Australia whinging about their use of the term and got a very curt "we're right, you're wrong" sort of reply back.

Date: 2010-11-12 08:59 am (UTC)
ext_515989: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I love that you wrote to Subway about that.
I've always been peeved about the way they use American names for practically everything there. And "Old English cheese"? Come on, that baby is orange burger cheese. It is NOT not American.

Date: 2010-11-11 10:41 pm (UTC)
shipperx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shipperx
Sounds like the primary difference is in various concepts of 'sauce.'

I suppose ketchup is a 'sauce' but it's grouped in most people's minds as a condiment and sits besides yellow (or brown) mustard. Technically, a condiment can be a sauce as well, which I suppose ketchup is, but in this case I think it's closer to 'seasoning'. It tends to be a ingredient, not something used all on it's own or over something neutral like pasta.

It's not a particularly linear thing though because hot sauce is a condiment and not really a sauce so I'm not sure that there's much in the way of hard, fast rules about it. Still, I kind of understand why most Americans would make a face and say that ketchup isn't tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is something that's on pizza or spaghetti. Ketchup is kept in a bottle on tables in restaurants or in the refrigerator. So they tend to occupy different places in our heads.

Good and accurate point about marinara. I pretty much blame grocercy store marketing for labelling a whole section of the tomato sauces "marinara" with no explanation for it becoming an interchangeable substitute for a variety of tomato-based pasta sauces.

Date: 2010-11-11 10:50 pm (UTC)
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quinara
Now I'm wondering - do you make any distinction between barbecue sauce that comes in bottles and the stuff you use to marinade things? Also, hmm, is this why Americans usually drop the 'sauce' in soy sauce (or at least it feels to me like you do)?

Date: 2010-11-12 02:29 am (UTC)
shipperx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shipperx
Are you marinading in barbeque sauce?

Barbeque sauce is usually a sauce or something used in the basting, lating in the cooking process because the sugar content makes it easy to burn.

However, I do have to give the caveat to my answer in that it's the answer of a Southerner and definitions of barbeque seem to be one of the most regional things you can come across in the US. This came up on Top Chef a few years ago when they had a barbeque challenge and the Southern contestants, and southern forum posters all had an entirely different definition and concept of what 'barbeque' entailed. What Top Chef called 'barbeque' Southerners think of as grilling. Actual Southern barbeque is smoked. So to Southerners grilled =/= barbeque. What defines actual barbeque is 'low and slow' heat and smoke. Meats that are cooked under very low heat for a very long time using hardwood such as apple wood, hickory, or other fragrant smoke hardwoods, until the meat is tender and easily pulled from the bone. Barbeque is then, based by region, anything from a spice rub, to a vineagar based sauce, to a tomato based sauce, to a 'white' mayonaise based sauce. All are spicy and vary in sweetness.

The stuff in the bottle usually most resembles tomato-based barbeque sauces, which tends to mean there's some sweetness involved and so are usually added late in the cooking or after cooking so as not to burn it.

Date: 2010-11-12 09:15 am (UTC)
verity: audrey horne from twin peaks! (audrey (twin peaks))
From: [personal profile] verity
I just want to chime in here and say that I am seriously impressed with your ability to sum up the nuances of American BBQ in one comment. THUMBS UP.
Edited Date: 2010-11-12 09:15 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-11 10:42 pm (UTC)
quinara: Why Bird from Playdays with tea in front of the Whytech. (Why Bird tea and tech)
From: [personal profile] quinara
I'd happily use both ketchup and tomato sauce to describe the vinegary spicy stuff in bottles. There's certainly never a problem with it getting confused with other types of tomato(-y) sauce, because it's usually perfectly clear from the context. (I don't really talk about pizza in this much detail, but I'm fairly sure the stuff you get on pizzas is tomato purée anyway).

In terms of pasta, you can have tomato sauce on that (it's, you know, tomato-y) and then there's a bunch of different tomato-based sauces that you call by their names. Americans don't think marinara has fish in it?? THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH.

Date: 2010-11-11 11:04 pm (UTC)
rebcake: Ethan Rayne: You say chaos like it's a bad thing. (btvs ethan chaos)
From: [personal profile] rebcake
Heh. I thought the most controversial thing was the spelling: ketchup vs. catsup. This was very mysterious to me when I was young.

Date: 2010-11-11 11:20 pm (UTC)
velvetwhip: (Real Genius: Jordan)
From: [personal profile] velvetwhip
*hides American self under the bed*


Date: 2010-11-11 11:37 pm (UTC)
juliet316: (Doctor Who: Martha sitting in TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] juliet316
I'm american and tomato sauce is for things like chilli, pasta sauce is for well, pasta, pizza sauce is for pizza, and ketchup is for hot dogs and french fries.

ETA: and hamburgers.
Edited (adding a couple of words.) Date: 2010-11-11 11:38 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-11 11:56 pm (UTC)
ext_30116: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
So what do you call the stuff you use as a base for making spaghetti sauce etc?

According the italian chef (?) "the origins of marinara sauce are that it is the sauce that they made in Naples for the sailors when they returned from the sea. "

And there is def a diff btween tomato sauce, paste and puree.

Tomato paste, or tomato concentrate, consists of tomatoes that have been cooked for several hours, strained and reduced to a thick, rich concentrate. It is generally fairly sweet.

Tomato puree consists of tomatoes that have been cooked briefly and strained, resulting in a thick liquid.

Tomato sauce is a somewhat thinner tomato puree, and may include seasonings and other flavorings so that it is ready to be used in other dishes or as a base for other sauces

I use tomato sauce all the time, puree for chili, and paste only when a recipe calls for it.

And here is a post about marinara in australia

Date: 2010-11-12 12:07 am (UTC)
ext_30116: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I like how you put "crushed tomatoes" in quotes LOL

Date: 2010-11-12 02:37 am (UTC)
shipperx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shipperx
So what do you call the stuff you use as a base for making spaghetti sauce etc?

Depends how I'm making it.


Because I was making Basque chicken last weekend I recently perused this aisle (in the U.S.) there canned whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, and a variety of tomato sauces. The truth is, pasta sauce can be made with any of them, it's just a question of how.

Date: 2010-11-12 12:03 am (UTC)
ext_30116: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I love your differences in Englishes discussions.

Date: 2010-11-12 12:22 am (UTC)
slaymesoftly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slaymesoftly
Sometimes I hate DW. I had a lengthy reply, including links to four different sites explaining what marinara sauce is and why it is called that, and it ate the whole thing (no pun intended) when I accidentally went to one of the links from this tab. Grrr All I'm left with is this one, which is just an Italian recipe for it:

The others all said it is called marinara because it was the sauce served to returning sailors (marinara) in Naples. Maybe that's an American story that's been repeated so often it is believed to be true, but surely someone Italian would have stepped in by now and contradicted it? It was repeated in many different places, including at least one dictionary.

A think of a sauce as any liquid too viscous to be called a syrup, and that is poured over food. Can be just a genric white, cream or cheese sauce, or identified by name: hollandaise, BBQ, Tobasco, soy, Worcestershire, tomato, spaghetti (contains tomato sauce and other ingredients), marinara, ad infinitum.
Ketchup is much thicker than a typical sauce and is more of a condiment to be dipped into or used on certain meat sandwiches where a sauce would be too runny.
Gravy would be a meat-based sauce. :)

Date: 2010-11-12 12:34 am (UTC)
slaymesoftly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slaymesoftly
Hmmmm if I had to make a distinction, I guess I'd say chocolate syrup is thinner than chocolate (hot fudge, specifically) sauce, but yeah - pretty lame distinction. Probably up to the mfg what it ends up being called.

Yeah, I was wishing I could read Italian so I could try some Italian web sites. On the other, hand, while I love the Aussie vs Am discussions (Alwaysjbj and I used to spend hours on YM comparing word usage and pronunciations in our respective countries), I'm not a foodie and really should even be in a conversation about cooking. :)

Just realized that soy sauce and worcestershire sauce are very liquid, so my theory is shot all to hell. :)
Edited Date: 2010-11-12 01:34 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-12 03:28 am (UTC)
peroxidepirate: (foodie)
From: [personal profile] peroxidepirate
Is it helpful for me to mention chocolate-based Mexican mole (that's mohl-ay, not moal) sauce at this point?


Date: 2010-11-12 03:56 am (UTC)
peroxidepirate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] peroxidepirate
Mole is delicious! It's a savory/spicy sauce made out of chili peppers (for which at least one other English has another name, I think, but I can't remember it) and nuts or seeds and chocolate, all crushed up together and used as a marinade/cooking liquid/sauce-to-add-after-cooking for chicken or other kinds of meat.

(comment repeated with link!fail hopefully corrected.)

Date: 2010-11-12 12:17 pm (UTC)
slaymesoftly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slaymesoftly
Ah, see there's one of those foodie things. I know "sweet" of course, but "savory" is one of those 'what does that even mean?' words for me. *g*

Date: 2010-11-12 03:30 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
Where is Riccadonna? She'd know.

Date: 2010-11-12 03:26 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
But Americans didn't name it marinara...? It's an Italian word. I mean, and Italy is surrounded by water. So seafaring people, they be.



Cooks aboard Napolitan ships invented marinara sauce in the mid-16th century after Spaniards introduced the tomato (a New World vegetable) to Europe. This meat-free sauce was easy to make and resisted spoiling due to the high acid content of tomatoes.[9] This made it ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before refrigeration methods were invented.

Marinara spaghetti = Mariner's spaghetti. It's sauce that mariners invented to withstand the voyage without spoiling.

Date: 2010-11-12 03:29 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
It seems like the names marinara and napolitana originate from the same event. What do the Italians call it? Since we're all borrowing it from them anyways. :)

Date: 2010-11-12 03:35 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
It could be that the sauce was called marinara/napolitana by different sets of Italians and the Americans picked up the marinara, the Aussies the napolitana.

Or the Americans picked up marinara out of the marinara/napolitana options in Italy, then over time "marinara" became defunct in Italy and now it's called napolitana.

Date: 2010-11-12 03:46 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
Well, by American word, it's an Italian word that America uses (in perhaps an odd way?), haha!

It reminds me of how English splintered off and Brit/American/Aussie English all evolved in different ways. We pick and choose what we like and what catches on (or dies off) might live on in another place.

All I can say is that marinara isn't an English word, so I presume it was brought over from Italy with the sauce itself.

Any idea when Italians started emigrating to America?

"During the mass emigration from Italy during the century between 1876 to 1976, the U.S. was the largest single recipient of Italian immigrants in the world." Source

When did the Italians emigrate to Australia? It sounds like this big emigration happened worldwide at about the same time.

Date: 2010-11-12 07:27 am (UTC)
fenchurch: (Funky)
From: [personal profile] fenchurch
Huh! I had no idea about the definition of marinara, although now that I look at it, it seems obvious!

American tomato sauce, btw, is considered a component in spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce, but is also used in lots of other recipes (you could, conceivably, just use tomato sauce on pasta or pizza but it would be rather bland). While tomato paste is an entirely different thing... very, very thick (in fact, I often use it as a thickener in things I also want to have some tomato flavor).

That said, I have Fountain Tomato Sauce in my fridge right now. I get the stuff via mail order because it actually tastes good... unlike the icky ketchup stuff we have in the US (seriously, it was quite a revelation when we were in Australia, because I have never liked ketchup, but really liked tomato sauce).

Date: 2010-11-14 12:47 am (UTC)
kirby1024: Shot of a Sparrow (Sparrow)
From: [personal profile] kirby1024
Interestingly, my definitions of various tomato-based products isn't terribly connected to the purpose any more (but then, this is from the person who routinely says "blue green-bag", and suffers no dissonance whatsoever).

So, Pasta Sauce can go in pretty much anything, and is pretty much purely related to jar sauce. I have, on occasion, used Pasta sauce to make tomato-based rice meals, which are extremely delicious, and I highly recommend. If it's going on Pizza, pretty much without exception it's tomato paste, generally from one of the teeny tiny little cans.

Tomato Sauce and Ketchup are entirely synonymous. There's no distinction in my head whatsoever. But Pasta Sauce and Tomato Sauce are completely different items - you couldn't possibly mix the two terms in my head.

Date: 2010-11-14 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I always thought marinara was a dumb name for a tomato-based sauce anyway - and I am American.

Since your post forced me to look it up on Wikipedia, it makes a little more sense, but not enough. Marinara should refer to something seafood-ish. Especially when I occasionally forget what it really means and think, "ooh, ocean-y! That means seafood!" and then my plate comes and ".... oh. Right. Tomatoes. I remember."

I side with my country on the ketchup/tomato sauce argument, though. So are mustard and mayonnaise still the same, or no?


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