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Dear Mr. Alice:

This conspiracy theory-addled, vegan-activist dork I work with tried to tell me the item called "natural flavorings" in ketchup/catsup is pig's blood. But "natural flavorings" are in so-called vegan ketchup too. Would that be tomato blood? So, are "natural flavorings" just that? Can I tell my vegan pal to stop being such a weiner? (Tofu, of course.)

-- Carolyn T.Y., San Diego

Hey, tofool, all those soyburgers are softening your brain. Pig's blood? I don't think so. We've answered a similar question in the past, though I don't recall it was quite this loony. The major ketchup makers, the big brands, assure us their "natural flavorings" are spices. Not a whiff of hog or cow in the product. But even more important for tofool's co-worker is to realize that nothing said by a person with Big Mac on her breath will ever make a dent in the vegan's armor. And perhaps, judging from the heat of Carolyn's response, tofool only says these things because he gets off on seeing steam come out of her ears.

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