A caterpillar is not a butterfly. A hare is not a rabbit. A generation of kids learned from Mr. Green Jeans that a zebra is not a horse in striped pajamas. And no matter how much a Mercury Capri wants to be a Ford Mustang, it simply is not. So let me be clear to everyone who has ever said to me, ‘it’s the same thing,’ a cucumber is not a pickle.
I like cucumbers. I do not like pickles. Cucumbers are a nice clean, crisp snack – especially fresh from the garden. Pickles are… well, gross. They’re kept in cold, slimy jars, have a pungent smell, and what are all those floaties in the jar? Lord only knows. Don’t put them on my burger. Don’t put them next to me in a fancy dish on Thanksgiving. Don’t grind them up into itty bitty pieces and put them on my hotdog. Let’s not pretend that tomato cucumber salad or cucumber onion salad isn’t a lame attempt to serve me a sullied cucumber that’s a wanna be pickle. Do feel free to grind them up with bologna or put them in macaroni salad as I don’t eat those things anyway. Oh, and please, please – don’t put them in my basket.
For some reason I cannot fathom, restaurants – 99% of restaurants – like to put the wettest, juiciest pickle they can find on the side of any order of a sandwich, burger, sub, or wrap, whether it was requested or not. In my case, not. I don’t understand. If I wanted my bread or bun to be soggy and pickle tasting, I would have ordered it that way. I did not. In fact, I always say, “No pickle in the basket, please.” This is effective about 50% of the time.
For the non-effective 50% of my requests, let me send a big shout out to my dear friends and family members who are ever at the ready to whisk them off my plate and have a napkin ready to soak up the pickle juice the moment my order is delivered with the offending spear. MOH has been known to get a little carried away when he hears me say, no pickle please. “Really,” I’ve heard him say. “She doesn’t want it. She doesn’t want it on her burger, she doesn’t want it on her plate. She doesn’t even want to know you have them in your kitchen.” Okay, I appreciate the support, but don’t scare our server. I’ve never run screaming from the table.
Well, okay. There was that one time I almost ran screaming from the table. It happened at my favorite pizza grinder place. They love pickles there, and love to put them in the basket with your sandwich. They have a big sign behind the counter that says, “Pickle Buckets $1”. Anyway, we had ordered at the counter and, as always, I said, “No pickle in the basket, please.” When my open faced pizza grinder was delivered to my table, there was indeed no pickle in the basket. But on my sandwich, yes on my sandwich under the melted cheese along with my ham, pepperoni, and sausage was a chopped up pickle! The mind boggles at what my order ticket might have said to cause this misinterpretation.
People continually seem surprised by my lifelong dislike of pickles. I’m occasionally asked about a specific variety. “Do you just dislike dill pickles?” “What about bread and butter pickles? They’re good.” “Have you ever tried gherkins?” A pickle is a pickle. I do not like them in a car, I do not like them at the bar. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that I’m in the minority. In fact, I’m hyper aware of all the crazy items ‘being pickled’ these days. Pickle flavor abounds. Pepsi, Doritos, vodka, ice cream, chips, popcorn, and beer are all joining the fray. I see recipes for pickle soup on Facebook, people espousing the benefits of drinking pickle juice, and as if 2020 hadn’t taken enough of a bad turn, Sonic introduced a pickle juice slushie last month. Well, like many, I’m hoping for better things in 2021.