Almost Vegetarian's love their ketchup, especially when it's pretty (oh yeah, there's a food recipe, too)

Here's an odd bit of food news that caught my attention: Heinz Ketchup just announced the winners of the 2006-2007 Ketchup Creativity contest. The winners, 12 students (one per grade) will have their artwork printed on more than 200 million single-serve ketchup packets.

The school of each winning student will receive $750 in art supplies and $750 in Heinz ketchup. The winning students and their schools are located in cities ranging from Miami to the Bronx (in fact, all but one winner was either from Florida or New York).

Ketchup is fascinating stuff. Reagan declared it a vegetable. Canadians put it on their hot dogs (Dear Canadians, You are a wacky bunch and we adore you but the only truly correct place for ketchup is on fries or a hamburger. Love, Almost Vegetarian), and anyone who knows anything about ketchup (including Vogue food columnist Jeffrey Steingarten) buys Heinz.

Want to learn more about the stuff? Click here. Need help getting the damn stuff out of the bottle (and don't we all)? Click here. And for those of you that prefer a life without high fructose corn syrup (which are most assuredly NOT Heinz ketchup lovers because high fructose corn syrup is the fourth ingredient on their list, followed by plain old corn syrup) and want to make your own? Try this recipe from Gourmet.
Food recipe: Homemade ketchup
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Purée tomatoes (with purée from can) in a blender until smooth.

Cook onion in oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour (stir more frequently toward end of cooking to prevent scorching).

Purée ketchup in 2 batches in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Chill, covered, at least 2 hours (for flavors to develop).

Ketchup can be chilled up to 3 weeks.