Spicy, tangy, smoky, sweet: catsup with pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate molasses catsup

Pomegranate molasses catsup

We’re going to try something new, here at The Ordinary, and I’m quite excited about it! Allow me to explain… Once there was a website called Square America. I loved this website! It presented found photographs from various eras, arranged into albums. Some of the photographs were remarkably beautiful – snapshots from a time when you couldn’t take a million pictures at once, when you had to wait for the film to develop, and you’d never know what you’d find. I always found it profoundly moving to think that we were allowed a tiny glimpse into the lives of the people in these pictures, and that we’d never know what they were really like, what they were thinking, how their lives would turn out. I’d always thought that if I had some kind of writer’s group, it would be a fun exercise to choose one picture, and see what kind of stories various people would write about it (or haikus or epic poems or essays…) Well, I never actually had a writer’s group, so I never organized anything like this. As it happens, Square America is back on facebook, and the photos are as beautiful and inspiring as ever, so I thought…why not do it here? Why not host a virtual writer’s group at The Ordinary, for anybody that has the time or interest? So that’s what we’re going to try. Snacks will be provided! I’ve chosen a photo for the first story, and I’ve written my (very short) story, and I welcome others to contribute as well. Of course, you can make your own rules. For myself I had a few…keep it short, don’t think about it too much, and try to be respectful, because these were real people, after all. I haven’t completely worked out all of the technical details. If anybody does actually write anything, e-mail it to me and I’ll post it (with mine) after the jump. If you have someplace of your own to post it, give me a link, and I’ll post that here. We’ll see how it goes!

This is the photo I’ve chosen for the first story. Beautiful, right? My story is after the jump!

Pomegranate molasses catsup

Pomegranate molasses catsup

Hopefully, it will go as well as this catsup! What a nice combination of flavors. Pomegranate molasses is sweet & sour and delicious! As the title says, this catsup was a nicely balanced mix of spicy, tangy, sweet and smoky. It had a nice texture, too, a little jammy. And a lovely deep brick red color. And it was very very quick to make! We ate it with oven-roasted french fries, but you could eat it with anything you eat with catsup. It would be good with croquettes or kofta or pakoras… David even liked it, and he doesn’t like catsup much!!

Here’s A Tribe Called Quest with 8 Millions Stories.


JUNE ‘72

“I’m gonna kill you sons of a bitch,” he said, when he saw the torn sheet. He was sorry about the ‘sons of a bitch,’ he was sorry about that. That was no way to talk about their mother. But he felt like he might kill them, he was so mad, when he saw that torn sheet.
They looked scared of him, too. Truly scared. And they ran down the stairs and out the door. They slammed the door behind them, and they shook up the whole house.
He walked down the stairs slowly. He didn’t know why he followed them, but here he was, walking in their wake, walking through the smell of boys that they left behind; sweat and grass and candy and open windows.
The light filtered through the glass curtain and prismed through the cut glass of the heavy door. Weak and pale, but it filled the stairwell, and the dust the boys had raised curled around him in waves. He waded through and upset the settling silt with the slamming of the door.
He stood on the porch in his shirtsleeves. As far as he looked his world was grey. The grey house, with its torn and gritty asbestos tiles, the slick grey street. The cold, early June sky stretched away forever, flat and pale and indifferent and grey upon grey upon grey.
He caught a glimpse of the boys racing around the garage. A flash of color, of the damn yellow plaid, the damn torn sheet.
They laughed, but they looked scared – their faces flushed, their eyes wide, like animals.
He walked toward them, following in the space they’d made in the damp cold air with their foolish boy warmth. He wasn’t looking for them, wasn’t angry any more. He was as flat as the sky, but he followed anyway, carried along behind them.
He saw them climbing to the roof. They stood on the fence, and then an oil drum, and then an old hot-water heater, standing on its side. So much junk. He hadn’t noticed all the junk. He thought about them climbing – he thought about the chubby one in the pink shirt. What kind of boy wears a pink shirt? And the tall one, so foolish in a swimsuit, on this cold day, with any water a person could swim in many miles and weeks away. The sight of his pale, foolish skin, soft and tender like a baby’s, made him sad. The sight of ribs and a pale belly made him sad that he said he’d kill them.
They stood on the roof with an air of defiance, chests out, stupid cloaks (made from the damn torn sheet) held slightly aloft, as if they were wings. As if they believed they could fly. He thought of them on the point of the roof, which looked sharp enough to cut them through, from where he stood. He thought about them slipping, and the stupid cloaks catching on something. And he felt bad about saying he’d kill them. He leaned against the house, where they couldn’t see him, under the eaves. He saw his reflection split in the window, his grey face split in two, but when he reached his hand it was only cold dirty rain-smelling glass and peeling paint. Fifty years of dirty rain on the panes of glass.
Their mother had played dress up, of course, but she hadn’t been so old as they were now—too old for games. And she wouldn’t have torn the yellow plaid sheet. She loved that damn thing, that warm flannel thing. He’d wake her in the morning, and then he’d go back up a quarter of an hour later and she’d be out, dead to the world, content and peaceful in her flannel plaid sheet. She wouldn’t have torn that thing.
“Come down into the damn house!” He yelled to the boys, without stepping out of the shadow of the eaves. “Come down into the damn house before you catch your death!”


Dear Susie, you asked if I had any pictures of grandpa. This was the only one I could find. Tommy and I are up on the roof playing super heroes. He never even knew we were up there. We kept tossing peanuts off the roof. He though the squirrels were getting into his secret stash. You could show this to him and see if he remembers anything. I know he’s forgetting more and more these days. Let me know if you need anything else.



1 T olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 T tomato paste
1 T pomegranate molasses
1 T brown sugar or raw sugar
1 t dijon mustard
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t smoked paprika
1/3 cup water (+/-)
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook for about a minute, till it just starts to brown. Add the pepper flakes and garlic, and cook just under a minute. Add the tomato paste, molasses, sugar, mustard, balsamic and smoked paprika and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes to heat through. When it’s thick and hot and bubbling, add enough water to make it a bit thinner than the catsup you’re used to. Process in a blender or food processor till completely smooth. Cook for a few minutes to reduce to to the consistency you like. It should be a bit jammy and a nice brick red color. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


17 thoughts on “Spicy, tangy, smoky, sweet: catsup with pomegranate molasses

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