Election Squeeze

by Amy Zidell

To my relief, while my schedule has not allowed me the luxury of writing commentaries on numerous election issues, I've noted various professional commentators have taken up the issues in exemplary fashion. And while the 'extra' day-light-saving hour has already been swallowed up by slumber, I'm compelled to squeeze an election commentary in before it's too late.

If you know me, you know I'm conservative and I'm a Republican. I felt so passionate about the election, and so upset with the nastiness of the campaign, I made a political statement at the market. I bought Del Monte Ketchup instead of my normal Heinz brand of Ketchup. I've seen stories about a novelty Ketchup being marketed with the same idea in mind, but didn't find it in the market. I didn't go to the trouble of researching the politics of major shareholders of Del Monte. I knew I enjoyed their pineapples and bananas. I was sure their Ketchup would be fine. I mean it's Ketchup, how could I go wrong?

Let me tell you. That first runny squirt. That first tangy taste - and not so much in a good way. I faced a serious dilemma. Even knowing that Teresa Heinz Kerry doesn't have anything to do with the company and that the executives of the Heinz company, I believe I read, support the GOP. I was torn.

My very own kitchen was divided. I got a glimpse into the mindset that pitted brother against brother during the Civil War. A political crisis was brewing on my plate and I was hungry. I was out of Heinz Ketchup. (Not wanting to be wasteful, I at least finished the bottle I had before making my Tomato-y statement.) Ever resourceful, I went to the refrigerator. There are few things in the refrigerator you can get away with not throwing away. Stuffed in the back was an example - a plastic bag full of condiment packets courtesy of years of deli take out. Amongst the squishy packets of Heinz Mayonnaise and Heinz Yellow Mustard, a nearly gilded packet of Heinz Ketchup. Salvation. I tore open a packet, squeezed the red goo onto my plate and my breakfast potatoes were once again safe.

I continued to obtain my Ketchup sustenance from these small - are they foil? are they plastic? - packets for some time. Who knew I had such reserves? There came a time when feeling a bit like a Ketchup junky, I knew I would have to go back to the bottle. I did. Feeling slightly uneasy, I reluctantly bought a new bottle of Heinz Ketchup. Now the only dilemma, what to do with the bottle of barely used Del Monte Ketchup? Maybe I could drop it off at a campaign office.

My mayo will always be Best Foods, my Yellow Mustard French's, my Ketchup - apparently Heinz. Am so conservative I can't even switch condiments? No, because I do not make my choices blindly. I do my research. I study the issues. When I got a bad taste in my mouth, I went to the condiment I knew and trusted. The condiment with consistent taste and performance. I went with the Ketchup that stands up to Hamburger, that stands up to French Fries, and isn't afraid to stand up to Eggs when needed. Maybe I can cover the Heinz label with a W '04 bumper sticker.

2004 Amy Zidell

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