The Hunt For Heinz

The Hunt For Heinz

By Guest Contributor

You may already know about my campaign to get Heinz ketchup in all of our dining halls. Between the WeTheMiddKids petition, the go/heinzforall posters, and my somewhat unconventional ketchup solicitation in Atwater last week, I feel as though “Heinz Girl” has become something of a campus character. For those of you who remain unaware of my motivations, you may rest assured that my Pittsburgher passion is wholly in earnest. After three years of avoiding the vinegary Hunt’s tomato concoction in Ross and Proctor and then discovering this year that the Heinz containers in Atwater didn’t have Heinz in them at all, I decided to act.  

Am I, as WeTheMiddKids commentator Smylez so eloquently put it, just an “overzealous yinzer?” I’ve never believed in doing anything halfway, but this nascent insurgency has so far cost me a whopping $6 on posters, $3 on a bottle of ketchup, and three hours walking around Atwater and talking to some very wonderful people in my effort to convince you of Heinz’s superiority. In the sad event that you missed the Heinz giveaways last week, I’ve got some fun facts for you. Almost 1.2 million people like Heinz Ketchup on Facebook. Compare that to the paltry 105 who like Hunt’s Ketchup. Yep. More people live in Battell than like Hunt’s Ketchup on Facebook. More people work for Hunt’s than like Hunt’s Ketchup on Facebook. They probably even secretly stock their pantries with Heinz! 

Social media popularity contests aside — and it is difficult to ignore a difference to that degree of magnitude — even the experts agree that Heinz is the best. In a 2004 New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell wrote, “the taste of Heinz’s ketchup began at the tip of the tongue, where our receptors for sweet and salty first appear, moved along the sides, where sour notes seem the strongest, then hit the back of the tongue, for umami and bitter, in one long crescendo.” Wouldn’t you like to experience such gastronomic perfection every time you have a French fry in the dining hall?   

There are so many things I care about more than ketchup — improving maternal health outcomes, formulating better language curricula for children in American public schools, the plight of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and IDPs, the social and academic wellbeing of my Middviewers, and whether the Steelers will recover from this 2-2 start to the season. But now that I’m in my final year here, I’ve come to realize that we often take ourselves far too seriously, and that the little things can affect us just as much as grand issues. Wherever ketchup falls on your list of priorities, if seeing my posters or watching me administer impromptu taste tests has made you crack a smile or even laugh, I absolutely count that as a victory. Whether or not I achieve the ultimate victory in this campaign, however, depends on your support. Vote now for Heinz ketchup, that king of the condiments, at go/heinzforall.


KATHARINE REINEMAN ’15 is from Pittsburgh, Pa.