Craving BBQ and ketchup? Find out now their surprising origin!

Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

Summer is about to end, what a shame. However, we have had a good time. Some of us have been to the beach, to the pool or have visited a new place. Many of us have met some friends or family and prepared a barbecue, right? We have bought some meat and vegetables and cooked them over fire. And we all know someone who likes to bathe the meat in sauces, from mayonnaise to ranch dip, but some classics are ketchup and barbecue. Do you know where these two words come from? Let’s see the origin of bbq and ketchup.


According to JSTOR, when Spanish people arrived to the Caribbean and South America, they saw the indigenous cooking food in a wooden frame near or over the fire, using the smoke for the food to get a different taste to what they were used to eat. 

When referring to that type of cooking, they heard something similar to barbakoa, and transcribed it as barbacoa. This word came into English with different spellings. The first one was “Barbacu’d”, using the word as a verb rather than as a noun, and it evolved into the word we know today, which can be used both ways. Nowadays, you can also find it spelled as “bbq” as an abbreviation. Either way, it’s delicious!


As we said earlier, many people add ketchup to their meat or fries. Did you know that originally ketchup didn’t have any tomato? In Lyngua Translations’ blog, we are going to see the origin of this sauce.

When we think about ketchup, what comes to mind is always a tomato sauce. However, when it was first used, in the imperial China, back in 200 b.C., it had nothing to do with tomato or any other fruit or vegetable. It did have soybeans, but the main ingredients were fish entrails or meat byproducts. They called this sauce “koe-cheup”, which is very similar to what we call it nowadays, although the ingredients are completely different. Interesting to see the development that this product has achieved…

The sauces were spread through the routes of traders in the 18th century. The British took the sauce and radically changed it into something that we could expect to be similar to what we know now, but it isn’t yet. The recipe that they decided to use included oysters, celery, mushrooms, peaches or anchovies.

After years and years of perfecting the technique of ketchup, the one we use nowadays was created. The company Heinz decided to use tomato, vinegar, salt, sugar and some spices in order to get the worldwide known sauce. When this recipe was discovered by Heinz, ketchup’s popularity skyrocketed in the whole world and hundreds of millions of bottles are sold every year. Who can imagine a barbecue without ketchup, nowadays, huh?

Did you know the origins of these two words? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to learn the origin of other words, take a look at this post.

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