Friday, February 27, 2009

A quiet conspiracy?

Having given up home delivery or even newsstand pick-up of the Boston Globe as my source for printed news, I rely on the Wall Street Journal to keep me informed of what is going on both in national and international affairs, admittedly with a business and politically conservative slant. The WSJ is still more informative on all fronts. I know, for instance, that H.J. Heinz's profit is up during these tough times as few other companies' are. Heinz, which produces a number of products, is known for it ketchup, or catsup as we like to spell it here at antiquarian-minded Whalehead Amalgamated Enterprises, PLC, GmbH, LLC, Esq.

We noticed at the Pizza Pantry on Dot Ave,near the JFK/UMASS station, that the management doesn't offer Heinz catsup packages as a condiment. We've noticed this at other local, prepared food outlets as well. The brand of choice seems to be Red Gold Premium Tomato Ketchup (their spelling, not ours). In fact, in my limited, circumstantial, and highly subjective recollection of catsup packets I've seen offered in Dorchester, East Boston, and Roxbury, I'd be willing to bet that Red Gold is more available than Heinz at a 3:1 ratio.

We all know that our own United States Senator, the Hon. John Kerry, is married to the heir to the Heinz catsup fortune. He ran for president, if you will recall, and was defeated in both the popular vote and the electoral college. He won Massachusetts, but still waters run deep. Has the purchasing power of Boston's entrepreneurial, fast food outlets conspired to rob this legislator of his personal income? According to the WSJ, they haven't succeeded this quarter, but one would imagine that buying Heinz products would insulate this particular peoples' representative from being tempted by corrupt money looking for favorable legislation. Right now, H.J. Heinz is rolling in profits but some Boston restaurateurs seem to want to starve the hand that is raised to pass legislation.

Red Gold, Inc., based in Elmwood, Ind., makes a good catsup. It's available in a number of grades, from 100% natural, made with real sugar, 33% fancy catsup, whatever that means, and an industrial grade that goes by the name of "Extra Standard 29%." I asked the woman behind the counter at Pantry Pizza if anyone has complained about the quality of the catsup they offer. She said, "No. We only serve the best here at Pantry Pizza." I asked why they don't serve Heinz. She looked over her shoulder toward the kitchen and said, "I'm not allowed to comment on managerial decisions."

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