The Perfect Pickle

I grabbed a handful of fresh dill the other day, inhaled deeply , and was rushed (once again) aboard my own personal time machine to those wonderful summers of yore when my father was in pursuit of the perfect pickle.

The making of a good dill pickle was a passion for my Dad. It was one of his more manageable cravings. He would load me into the old Volvo station wagon and we would barrel down the dusty country roads in search of just the right farm that was selling just the right pickling cucumbers. When we found it we would bring those cukes home by the bushel. Then my father would do something strange like dump all the cucumbers in the bathtub for a rinse…but that was my Dad and I got used to that.

Usually we’d bring all the necessary ingredients together at the summer cottage we rented. And then we would have what can only be described as a dill pickle bee. I remember lots of neighbours in the kitchen…in various stages of inebriation. Some were sterilizing mason jars. Some were mixing water with vinegar. Others had their posts at the dill pickle assembly line that formed along the countertop. Maybe it was your job to add the dill..or the garlic..or the single hot pepper. I always kept a close eye on the person putting in the alum…because as a kid,  I had no idea what alum was…and I was already prone to conspiracy theories. One of my buddies had told me that alum might make your voice higher or your penis smaller.

Cases of dill pickles were made that night. People (by now, highly pickled themselves) would stumble back to their own cottages, with parting-gift jars in hand. And long after the summer was over, when the right amount of time had passed, my father would crack open a jar, grab a dill and take a big bite. And if it made a loud enough crunch you knew you had crafted a good batch of pickles. If not, well, there was always next summer.

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3 Responses to “The Perfect Pickle”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Dang it, Dave, now I’m jonesing for a homemade pickle!!!

    Speaking of which, have you ever added a dash of pickle juice to a caesar? (The drink…) It’s the only way to go.

  2. Spicy pickled beans (& a dash of the juice) is excellent in caesars (I use the “Drunken Green Beans” brand)! As is a touch of HP sauce (sounds odd, but give it a shot).
    Something else worth a try in caesars is pickled asparagus… especially if you can get your hands on a spicy batch from an Okanagan fruit stand. Mmm!

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