I Ketchup With Virginia Mannering to Talk Sauce

Virginia contacted me by telegraph with a harrowing story to share. A fellow sauce disliker, Virginia's relationship to sauce deviates from other interviews in this series. Her story has anger, it has bakeries and it has Canberra. Many of you will be moved to tears. I met-up with Virginia at a truck depo and learned that even if you don't care for the taste of ketchup, it can be therapeutic.

Thanks for joining me in this stolen Master Foods Tomato Sauce truck. I know you’re not one to usually lend your name to acts of grand larceny, so I appreciate it.

Though I enjoy the novelty of it all, I believe I can already hear the traffic chopper circling. Hold on to your hats, kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

What is your first memory of not liking tomato sauce?

Actually I think I used to be just ambivalent about it, but then when I stopped eating meat I realised the old ‘dead horse’ had no use in the vegetarian world. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. No, wait… what does that mean? Does that even make sense

Have you ever pretended to like sauce?

Not really, but I kind of like partaking in sauce-related events. It’s really quite therapeutic to go into a bakery and squeeze those little saucy squeezy packs so it squeezes everywhere. I would definitely pay the 20c surcharge to do that.squeeze

As a non-sauce eater, what are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?

Personally, I don’t think it’s me who has the difficulty. Look at all the people in the world who cling to this condiment like it’s some kind of security blanket. Order a meal, and without even tasting it, the first thing they say is, “have you got some tomato sauce?”. Cut loose, people. Be free of the sauce that binds.

Do you dislike any other condiments?

Yes. All salad dressings, most type of gravy, relish, HP Sauce, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, (and your mayonnaise sub-genres, dijonnaise, peri-naise etc) especially because it is difficult to spell.

Olivia Newton John and John Farnham are touring. Discuss.

Ummm… Why isn’t Anthony Warlow involved?

What was it like for you at sausage sizzles growing up?

Post-Saturday morning netball sausages sizzles were a fixture of my childhood. But I mixed memories of them. Bitterly cold Canberra mornings. Asphalt. Grazed knees. Jarred fingers. Lukewarm franks, soft, spongy buns, sticky vats of Black and Gold tomato sauce. Actually, I am still bitter about the time I had bought a sausage in a blanket and had not taken a single bite before our dictatorial head sports teacher said I had to stay longer and sub for another team. Before sending me off to play, she took my goddamned sausage away and fed it to her Labrador. I’d rather not discuss it any further.

What advice do you have for youngsters who think sauce tastes like sugary, tomato effluent?

Well while I am with them all the way regarding the non-liking of tomato sauce, I’d have to say, harden up you little whingers. Back in my day you had to like it or lump it. Now we’re all about talking about our “feelings” and wrapping people up in cotton wool. Jeez, Simon… Next question!

Anything else you’d like to add? Do you have a video art exhibition or album coming out that you’d like to plug?

I’m looking at selling or giving away my Ikea MALM drawers. Generally poor condition, a l’il wobbly, early 2000’s faux-birch finish. Would suit a bachelor pad or Airbnb.

Thanks for your time. Ignore those police sirens.

I’m outta here.

My Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Sauce opens March 26, 6pm at the Portland Hotel. Come check it out, you saucy bastards. And I'll post a link when Virginia puts up an ad on gumtree.com or ebay.