I once told a guy that I was late to our date because I had stopped at home to eat a pickle. I really liked that guy, and I really liked those pickles.
I’ve found that I have the most curious problem of over-sharing with the men in my life. I am completely unable to help myself when I suddenly feel compelled to share details about the giant bruise on my ass that is shaped exactly like Massachusetts (except upside down) but at the same time, I recoil in horror when the opportunity presents itself to express any genuine emotion or real honesty regarding my thoughts and feelings about our relationship. I generally get through these moments by recanting a salacious joke that involves a sailor, a gator, and a bottle of moonshine (I’ll tell it to you sometime).
Perhaps I’m trying to guard myself and my emotions with humor, perhaps I am afraid of any real genuine connection with another person, perhaps I happen to really like that joke; the world may never know (because psychiatrists are expensive). All self analysis aside though, let’s get back to that pickle.
I didn’t discover the joys of half-sour pickles until I moved up north (we don’t yet have this kind of technology in Florida!). Due to our lack of culture, I grew up thinking that all pickles were neon green, floppy, and tasting of a mix of sewer water and tide pool creatures [insert outrageous dick joke here!]. Then one day, while shopping at my local yuppie, family owned, farm to table specialty store (not an ounce of shame), I came across what looked like a quart container of fresh cucumbers floating in salt water and spices in the refrigerated section. Now, I get that this is essentially what pickles are, but to me it was a revelation!
With a mix of excitement and apprehension, I tore into the pickle package as soon as I got both feet into my kitchen. To my delight, these pickles were crunchy, garlicky, salty and just slightly tangy. They were perfect. I had another one the next morning as I was running out the door to work, they were still awesome, even for breakfast. The rest of my day was essentially spent calculating how many pickles I could eat at home before I had to leave to meet my date for margaritas that evening (and also wondering what a pickle margarita might be like).
As the day wore on though, my estimated pickle count went down by the hour. The work kept piling up and it finally became clear that I was going to have to rush straight from work to the restaurant to have any hope of making it to this date on time. That’s when I made a brash decision, the pickle was more important than the date. My house, was actually equidistant between the subway stop and the restaurant. I was going to make it work.*
When I finally arrived at the restaurant to meet my date, I started to mumble some excuse about the train being slow and, before I could help myself said, “actually, that’s not true. Between work and this restaurant, I stopped at my house to eat a pickle. It was a very good pickle and ultimately I think that it was worth it.” He however, did not seem to share my enthusiasm.
In the days to come, my date broke it off between us, citing the fact that he was not yet over his ex-girlfriend. I guess that she valued their relationship over preserved produce and I guess that I’m still looking for someone that understands the importance of a good pickle.
*As a quick side note: whenever I tell this story invariably someone says “oh, if you liked pickles so much, maybe you were pregnant.” No, idiot, I was not. While I’m on the subject though, I currently have a friend who is going into labor and posting it on Facebook. She keeps giving real time updates as to how dilated she is. That, is fucking disgusting and it is starting to become a trend. No one needs to know how gaping your soon to be floppy vagina is becoming. Gross.**
**The author does not view the beginning of a new life as a miracle. She views it as gross.
6 pickling cucumbers (the short ones that you find in spring)
4-5 cups of tap water (you want to cover the pickles completely)
¼ cup kosher salt
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
½ tsp white mustard seeds
¼ tsp coriander seeds
2 sprigs of fresh dill
1) Wash cucumbers and place into a plastic quart container (they should fit very snugly).
2) Mix the (room temperature) water and salt together until the salt is fully dissolved.
3) While the salt is dissolving, peel and crush the garlic and add to the bowl with the cucumbers. Then add in the peppercorns, mustard, and coriander.
4) Pour the salt water over making sure to cover all cucumbers completely. They should be packed in tight enough not to float to the top.
5) Cover the top with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band and punch a few holes through it.
6) Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight (next to your stove perhaps) for three days. You should see some bubbles on the surface, this means that the pickles are fermenting. Depending on how sour you like them, you can ferment them for up to five days (they get more sour as the days go on).
7) Once they are done fermenting, store them in your refrigerator and enjoy on sandwiches, salads, or on their own before an awkward date.