Friday, September 13 is your lucky day if you love pickles! It’s the holiday that is a real mouthful: National Snack A Pickle Time.
Not “day,” mind you. “Time.” I don’t know who came up with the name of this holiday, but it’s a real doozie. It’s also National Peanut Day which, despite being more straightforward and easier to say, didn’t appeal to us as much. We’ve already gone nuts with the legumes in other celebrated dishes this year, so we might as well get our pickle on!
Also, on a personal note, this is a very special weekend for Tara and I: we are getting married tomorrow. Today, we are setting out for the Oregon coast, where we rented a beach house for the festivities. It’s going to be a pretty small gathering, just 14 of our closest family members. Lest you think a little event like a wedding is going to prevent us from participating in our food challenge, guess again! The celebrated foods over the next few days are pretty easy, and we are incorporating tomorrow’s into the theme of our wedding. Let’s just say everything sort of lined up perfectly for the type of ceremony (read: casual and quirky) we are having.
People have been getting pickled for as long as alcohol existed. And people have been pickling foods since the Mesopotamians pick(l)ed up the habit in 2400 BC. While cucumbers are most commonly associated with pickles, virtually any vegetable or fruit can be pickled: it’s just got to be submerged in a brine that consists of salt and vinegar. Pickles have long been revered as being nutritional, having healing powers, and serving as beauty aids. Cleopatra attributed her good looks to a diet rich in pickles, and Julius Caesar fed pickles to his troops to provide them with physical and spiritual strength as they set out to conquer the world. Even Shakespeare made reference to pickles in Anthony and Cleopatra when he wrote, “What say you? Hence, Horrible villain! or I’ll spurn thine eyes like balls before me; I’ll unhair thy head: Thou shalt be whipp’d with wire and stew’d in brine, Smarting in lingering pickle.” Death by pickle juice? How horrible! (“Unhairing thy head” doesn’t sound very pleasant, either). ‘Twas Christopher Columbus who introduced pickles to the New World, planting cucumbers in Haiti for the sole purpose of pickling. In fact, pickles were a mainstay on long ocean voyages, providing sailors with a snack that didn’t spoil and prevented scurvy. What’s not to love about a pickle?
I do love pickles and they happen to be a favorite snack of mine, so this holiday was hardly a stretch. I can often be found hunched over the kitchen sink, munching on a pickle after a hard day at work or coming back from running errands. I suppose most people would reach for a piece of fruit, but not me. Naturally, we had plenty of pickles on hand, so Tara and I snacked on a pickle before embarking on our trip to the Oregon coast.
See you on our wedding day!