Everyone has a first love.
A boy, a girl, a dog, cat or horse, a favorite sports team, or even a fuzzy pink blanket called binky. Whatever it is, everyone everywhere has a first love.
Mine was (and still is) A&P Brand Kosher Dill Pickles.
You see, to me, the Kosher Dill Pickles is not just a love, it is an obsession. The juice must be a perfect green color, the pickles must have an undertone of yellow and if it is white it hasn’t been sitting in the brine long enough. The flavor must have just a hint of dill with more emphasis on the vinegar and salt flavor and to have the garlic smell just barely there. The pickle must have a semi crunchy rind but must be only slightly crisp bordering on smooshy on the inside.
If the pickle does not match these things, I won’t eat it. Or at least I won’t consider it a TRUE Kosher Dill Pickle. Perhaps I should rephrase that first part…I will eat it. I love pickles. I’ll eat them all. But my favorite is as described above.
And I don’t just stop at the actual pickle. No no no, I also enjoy the juice. Yes. You read that right, I enjoy the juice. When getting a pickle from the jar, I put it in a glass and pour some juice over it. While eating the pickle, I will dunk it in the juice. Once the pickle is gone, I then drink the juice. Yes, I DRINK the juice. It’s SOOOO good. My own nasty little habit. That I do frequently. Actually, when I was a kid it became quite a problem. You see, when you’re a kid you don’t have so much self control. Because of that I got put into the hospital once. How you say? Allow me to deconstruct…..
One upon a time, long long ago, there lived in a suburban house a little girl who used to love to get up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. Superfriends and Justice League and the Smurfs. That little girl also loved Pickles. Great Big Jars of Pickles. So one morning she thought it would be an excellent idea to get the new jar of pickles, go downstairs and eat them while watching cartoons.
And so she did. She ate the whole jar of pickles. And then drank ALL of the juice.
And three hours later she was in the emergency room with Doctors and Nurses and her Parents all very frightened about the little girl’s extreme pain and whether she was having appendicitis. So the little girl was admitted to the hospital where she spent two days in severe pain….and still no one knew what was wrong. Until the little girls favorite nurse came in late one night. The nurse, knowing how children are, asked the little girl what no one else had thought to ask. She asked the little girl what she had eaten that last Saturday. The little girl said pickles. The nurse said how many. The little girl said the whole jar and the juice too. The nurse went running out of the room to get the doctor and a laxative.
To make a long story short….and to cut to the embarrassing part. The little girl was suffering from an extreme case of trapped gas. A gas-ex and laxative were given and two hours later (and many painful trips to the bathroom) the little girl was happy and healthy. The parents on the other hand were really pissed off.
So the little girl was grounded for two weeks and pickles were allowed in the house only once every few months and the parents regulated the eating of the pickles.
So, now that you understand my intense and abiding love for pickles, any pickles, you’ll understand how happy and excited I was to find that India had their OWN version of pickle! And (GASP) they came in more than just cucumber!
I mean, I was astonished! I could have mango pickle? Lime? Mixed? Oh JOY! Visions of that wonderful brine and garlic flavor mixed with new types of fruit or veggies as the pickle danced across my eyes…my taste receptors prepared the tongue for the oncoming smorgasbord of pickle glory!
So, my second night in India, I ordered mango pickle with my meal at the hotel. It came and looked more like a desert. Almost like compote. But it smelled kind of vinegary but also kind of sweet. It was the oddest smell I had ever smelled when it came to pickle.
So, I dug my spoon in to get a good helping, and stuck the whole thing in my mouth.
FIRE!!!! MY TONGUE WAS ON FIRE!!! THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH WAS BURNING!!! MY EYES ARE MELTING!!!! WATERWATERWATER! ALARM! CODE RED!
Needless to say, do not drink water after such an attack.
So, when I created this blog, I was thinking about that time in India when I tried my first Indian Pickle. How even though things seem the same, sometimes they are different. And even if they are different, sometimes they are the same.
And also how I am the briny American Pickle and how my Bear is the spicy hot Indian Pickle.
Did I mention I have a fascination with food as well? 😛