We are big ketchup users in the household. It’s on the table at lunch and dinner and would be at breakfast if I didn’t draw the line.
The thought of cold ketchup on hot eggs just makes me want to hurl.
Sorry, had to share.
I’m typically not super brand conscious about most things but ketchup falls into the “must buy specific brand” category and we are Heinz people.
Have been, always will.
And in case you need to know, the other two categories are ice cream and peanut butter and in those cases we are an exclusively Blue Bell and Jif family.
Because we see that blessed Heinz bottle a thousand times a week, I thought it would be fun for the boys to go learn a little bit about their favorite condiment and so we spent a morning at the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
We also spent some time talking about how it wasn’t nice putting rabbit ears behind somebody when trying to take a picture.
The History Center houses several floor of exhibits about life in Western Pennsylvania and the immigration patterns that helped form the unique culture of Pittsburgh. I would love to tell you all about all the things we saw that showcased Polish, German, and Italian contributions to the city but these were not all fascinating to twelve year-old boys and so we zipped right through those post-haste. And as an aside, in my next life I’m going alone to visit every place I’ve ever taken them just so that I can stroll and meander and read every single caption under every single artifact because I am nerdy that way and they are not and it still stresses me out that there are exhibits at the Hoover Dam from two years ago that I didn’t get to properly see.
The real gem was the factory exhibit. There were examples of advertising through the years (some in black and white, some that I still remember from my childhood), a place to practice stuffing pickles into a jar like the Heinz factory girls did years ago, pictures and artifacts, and even a little kitchen where you could write down your favorite recipe and leave it on the fridge to share with others.
We spent several hours there and bought the requisite t-shirts that said “I put ketchup on my ketchup” in the gift shop and by this time it was after lunch and really time for us to get on the road. We were running a half day behind schedule because we’d had so much fun the day before at the Science Museum so I was anxious to get started because I wanted to get to our hotel outside of Columbus before too late in the day because the last thing I ever want to do when traveling to an unknown city is to hit it at rush hour on a Friday (thank you, Atlanta, for teaching me that very painful and nerve-wracking lesson
and also to always carry Xanax).
I didn’t pay attention to where our path would take us and as we were driving, I noticed that we’d crossed over into West Virginia for a brief time and saw a road sign that said “Wheeling 32” and had this grand moment of glee when I realized I might have the chance to drop in on Christen, a blog reader and friend that only lives in my computer and by chance I happened to have her phone number because I sent her a creepy email asking if she would mind letting me have her personal information just in case I needed
bailing out of jail help while traveling through West Virginia and she had been gracious to provide it and it wasn’t at all awkward to call and leave a message on her answering machine saying, “Hi, this is that weird person you read about on the Internet and I wanted to know if you wanted to meet for lunch when I drive through your town in about twenty minutes.”
She rejected me.
I just wanted her to gasp while she was reading that.
Unfortunately, she was in Pittsburgh while I was driving through Wheeling and we were ships that passed in the night but the trip was not for naught because I happened to CONVENIENTLY remember that she told me there was a Tim Horton’s in her town
which may have been my motivation all along and so I thought it would be funny if I went to eat at HER Tim Horton’s and it could sorta’ be like we were there together except that we weren’t.
But the doughnuts took the sting away.
We got to Columbus just in time to check into the hotel and then run out to meet my sweet pal Cheryl who moved to Ohio last year from Raleigh and I have missed, missed, missed her because she was my lunch buddy and cooking friend and confidante and mentor all wrapped into one and we all had dinner at Wholly Joe’s which I don’t think it remotely an Ohio landmark because it serves Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches but we did manage to sneak over to Sugardaddy’s (which IS a Columbus mainstay) for dessert where I had the best blonde brownie I have ever had in my life.
And I am serious.
Then we went back to the hotel and she and I stayed up til way too late talking and catching up and the boys bounced off the walls because of the sugar high of eating doughnuts, more brownies and Cheryl’s cookies that she had brought us as a “Welcome to Ohio” gift.
My heart was happy when I went to bed that night.
And my belly was full.
And that’s about the part of the trip when the clothes started feeling a little snug.
Have a nice day.