Why Do People Mix Mayonnaise and Ketchup Together?

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Make no doubt about it: Mayonnaise and ketchup are two of the most popular condiments in the U.S. So much so that you can find them at almost every restaurant, from fast food chains to cafes. But have you ever tried mixing mayonnaise and ketchup together?

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If you're unfamiliar with the combo, the practice might seem unconventional. However, as it turns out, the practice simply creates a DIY version of different sauces from various cuisines. This includes fry sauce, which became popular in the U.S. in the 1940s. The condiment is made of equal parts mayo and ketchup, and it's often served with (surprise!) fries.

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Meanwhile, in Latin American countries, mayo and ketchup serves as a base for salsa rosada. This sauce is often served with sandwiches, fried foods, and tostones (twice-fried plantain slices). Salsa rosada contains more ketchup than mayo, along with some garlic and lemon juice.

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Mayonnaise plus ketchup is also similar to Yum Yum sauce, a condiment served in Japanese steakhouses in the U.S. (In other words, it's not a traditional sauce that's actually served in Japan.) This particular version is usually made of ingredients like mayo, tomato paste, garlic powder, and rice vinegar.

But wait, there's more: Russian dressing, a condiment enjoyed in the U.S., features a mayo-ketchup base too. Other common ingredients include mustard, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish. Like Yum Yum sauce, Russian dressing is an American invention; the condiment is called such because the original recipe had caviar, a staple in Russia.

Besides, when you think about it, both mayo and ketchup contain ingredients that are often used to make sauces in general. (Think: oil and egg yolk in mayonnaise, tomatoes and vinegar in ketchup.) Mixing them together is simply a shortcut for creating similar condiments to those mentioned above, which is honestly pretty smart. Don't knock it until you try it!

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