As you’d expect from a woman who wrote a whole damn book on making junk food from scratch, our house isn’t rife with much of anything containing high fructose corn syrup. But there are exceptions to every rule, and as a proud Pittsburgher, I always keep a bottle of Heinz in the fridge. Seriously, my loyalty to the ketchup runs deep—I wrote a whole ketchup manifesto on the subject.
That’s why this past Sunday’s Heinz Super Bowl commercial made me livid. Everyone living within 90 miles of the Three Rivers’ confluence knows that you don’t thwack the bottom of the bottle to get the ketchup out—you hit the 57s!
The commercial was doubly frustrating because it’s impossible to find a glass bottle of Heinz ketchup anywhere but restaurants these days; the company has phased them out of grocery store shelves in favor of the easier-to-squirt squeeze bottles. Not only is the commercial misleading, it’s probably downright confusing to post-millennial kids, who are growing up without the crucial knowledge of how to extract that sweet, sweet Heinz ketchup from its iconic glass bottle.
That’s why, as an educational service to today’s youth, I present the true Pittsburgh Way to Smack Your Heinz Bottle:
To recap, don’t smack the flat bottom of the bottle. Don’t rap the embossed 57 with your knuckles. And for pete’s sake, don’t stick a knife up the bottle’s neck to try and break the seal—that just ends in a ketchupy mess.
Just use the heel of your hand to hit the 57 in an upward motion. Take it from this Pittsburgher: it works every time, and the laws of physics support us on this one! As Fast Company explains:
If you apply force to the bottom of a bottle of Heinz, the ketchup closest to where you smacked will absorb most of the force of impact. It will flow freely, but the ketchup that is viscously clogging the neck and mouth of the bottle won’t, leaving you no better off than you were before. The solution is to trigger the shear thinning effect at the top of the bottle, not the bottom.
And yes, you can go ahead and use the squeeze bottles instead, but at least you can be secure in the knowledge that you can work that glass bottle like nobody’s business. (It’s like when my mom wouldn’t let me get the rad Velcro-closure high-tops I desperately wanted until I knew how to tie an actual pair of shoelaces; you’ve got to know the right way before you can go the lazy way.)