Monday, November 14, 2011

National Pickle Day

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By Diane Forrest,

When I was younger, I remember going to the movie theater and seeing a big jar of pickles on the counter.  I was amazed when the clerk would reach into the jar and grab a huge pickle and wrap it in wax paper.  As I got older I worked behind a snack counter at a skating rink.  They too had a huge jar of pickles, only now it was my turn to fish them out and wrap them up.

When I got pregnant with my son I waited around for my pickles and ice cream cravings...but they never came.  In fact I never did really get a craving for those big pickles.  My husband however loved fried dill pickles, a southern specialty served at fish places here in town.  The only problem is they put so much on the plate that he couldn't eat them all and he didn't like to be wasteful so he only got them when he was really hungry.

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I bet you are wondering why I am babbling on about pickles.  Well, today is National Pickle Day.  Pickles have been a popular food for thousands of years. Their origin dates back to 2030 B.C., when cucumbers were first brought from India to the Tigris Valley where they began being pickled.  In ancient Egypt, pickles were consumed not only for their nutritional value but because they were considered an aid in beauty. Cleopatra attributed her good looks to her full diet of pickles.  Centuries later, Napoleon valued pickles as a health asset for his armies so he offered a huge cash prize to anyone who was able to preserve them safely.

My father's mother used to make bread and butter pickles, and recently my father, who loved her pickles, decided to make some of his own.  First of course he had to grow his own cucumbers.  Then, following her recipe, made his first batch of pickles.  I have to say they were really quite delicious.  Writing this brings back the memory of the wonderful taste, but I guess I will have to wait to next summer when pickle season is with us again.

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So today, don't hold the pickles or the lettuce...load your burger up with some pickles and celebrate National Pickle Day.


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