Tomato Ketchup is an accompaniment to food and so, by definition, is a condiment. The key to condiment etiquette is to take small portions on to your plate, and never to smear it all over a burger or a roll direct from the bottle or knife!
When entertaining, never allow the bottle of tomato ketchup anywhere near the table, no matter how ‘posh’ the manufacturer – Heinz is probably still the best and easiest to get out of the bottle! Shake the bottle well, holding the cap, and then tip or spoon into a small pot. For a chic barbeque or supper, serve guests with individual tiny pots (ramekins) and small spoons so they can take their own.
Always spoon ketchup directly on to the plate, as one would with a sauce or jelly. At a formal meal, never ask for it unless it is already on the table, and never dip anything into the bowl. If you do find a bottle on a table at a supper party, never squirt it all over food, don’t mix it with salt and pepper and don’t eat it with your fingers!
Founder, The English Manner