My Penn State teammate flew in from LA to visit the Burgh before we head to State College for rugby alumni weekend. Since I'm not workin anymore, I've been showing her around town the past few days. I have always wanted to visit the Pittsburgh History Center and Sports Museum, so that's where we went after lunch.
We ended up staying for almost 4 hours. They in fact had to kick us out when it closed and we still barely saw anything...because we spent far too much time in the Heinz discovery room packing pickles.
After you walk through the area and learn all about the 57 varieties of far reaching products, including the Japanese packaging on their line of canned fishes, there is an active learning area. Back in the day, the factory ladies had to pack pickles from metal bowls into jars using just wooden spoons.
The display had two metal tubs full of plastic pickles, separated by a divider. Each station had an apron, a wooden spoon, and a plastic pickle jar. The instructions said to race your friends to pack pickles, and that's what we did. While families watched and children waited their turn impatiently, Baby Goat and I furiously scooped those pickles. She beat me pretty soundly because I had trouble screwing the lid on the jar. Drat!
I was not as upset at being the worst pickle packer as I was by the faact that the ladies had to use spoons to pack pickles. Surely that is not the most efficient packing device. I know tongs must have been invented before the industrial revolution. Why didn't the ladies get tongs? I consulted my Asian friend about the pickle packing and she pointed out that Asian pickle packers would have used chopsticks with great success.
My theory is that those ladies would use their assigned work spoon and secret in a wooden spoon from home to use as makeshift tongs or quasi-chopsticks. Think how much faster it would be to grasp the pickles rather than scoop them with a damn spoon!
If I had another implement, I feel certain that I would have packed the pants off those pickles and left Baby Goat eating my dust.