Or if you are allergic to ketchup.
A few years back my friend Nimet her two teenage daughters and I were eating some leftover spaghetti at my house. I made it your typical American way... noodles with a tomato based sauce on top. Nimet's older daughter asked how I made the sauce (no jars of spaghetti sauce here... I have to do it from scratch).
I explained the whole process - browning some ground beef, chopping peppers, onions, tomatos, garlic... adding things to the pot, simmering, tasting, adding a little more of this or that.
Melike (Nimet's daughter, pronounced Mel-ee-kay) seemed surprised by all the work I'd done just for pasta. As far as I can figure, pasta is kind of a poor man's food here. Unless you can't afford more, you generally don't serve it to dinner guests. It's something you eat for a quick lunch, or when you're in a hurry, or because you can't afford something better. Maybe that's one reason why not much work is put into it.
Melike: Wow! This took you a long time to make (inferring, I think, that if something takes that long it should really taste much better)
Me: Yeah. In America I can just buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, but here I have to make my own.
Melike: A lot of times we just boil the noodles and then put some ketchup on top.
Me: Ketchup... really?
Melike: Nodding an affirmative. Mmmmm hmmm. It's delicious... sometimes we squirt ketchup and mayonaise on top together. You should try it, it tastes really good!
Me: Glancing at Nimet to see if I can catch a twinkle in her eye indicating that her daughter is pulling my leg. It wasn't there.
Nimet: I'm surprised you don't eat it that way! It's so much easier and really delicious!
Me: Realizing they're completely serious... Yeah, um, maybe I'll try that. . . and maybe pigs will fly over Turkey and you'll shoot them down and eat the bacon. Okay, obviously nothing about pigs came out of my mouth... and in case you didn't know it, Turkey is a Muslim country, so eating pork products is a big BIG no no. . . at some point James and I decided that pigs flying was not quite impossible enough so instead of just saying "when pigs fly," we added in the second part too. . . ya know, to make the unlikely even more unlikely. Plus it makes us laugh, but anyway . . .
I had forgotten all about this conversation until I looked at our ketchup bottle a couple of weeks ago and saw this:
Just the thought of covering my spaghetti noodles like this makes me cringe.
Euch... eeew... blech. I've got to look away.... and switch to a brand of ketchup that doesn't have indecent pictures.
The sad part for me is that apparently just the thought of choking down my homemade sauce makes Nimet and Melike cringe.... and they didn't have to just look at a photo of it... I actually served it to them for lunch, poor things. They'd much prefer the scene on the ketchup bottle... a forkful of noodles happily swimming in a sea of ketchup.
*note... if you happen to enjoy noodles with ketchup, please don't hate me because it makes me gag. I'm happy for you and for whoever cooks your food. It's really great that you can enjoy such an easy to make meal, just don't invite me for lunch, okay?