Writing as crisp as a pickle

by cheri  sabrawIMG_2781

A colorful display of Ball canning jars sitting like needy souls at the end of an aisle in Target stopped me yesterday. I’m not sure why I lingered over the cornflower blue pints, lavender quarts, and petite pistachio-green pepper jelly jars.

I have never canned anything in my life other than my services at AT&T and Dish TV.

What I imagined as I held  one clear quart jar up to the  light with its rubbery pink seal and its metallic lid was a jar of kosher dill pickles in my refrigerator. Good-bye Clausen!

“Ode to Experience” the icy snap of my own homemade  pickle!

With Labrador Retrievian enthusiasm, I bought 12 of the clear quart jars, downloaded a recipe or two, and then earnestly tried to collect the ingredients. Mundane are the ingredients! So mundane that I bought enough Persian cucumbers at Trader Joe’s to make gallons of quarts. IMG_2785

Okay, I said to myself after leaving Trader Joe’s. Now on to Whole Foods to pick up the dill seeds.

Not dill weed. Dill seeds.

Dill SEED not dill weed

Dill SEED not dill weed

I thought, Steinbeck will bust his buttons when jars of raw-pack pickles with a snap sit on my counter. Why, I’ll call my kitchen Cannery Road. Why, maybe this activity will take the place of my obsessively playing Words with Friends and ruminating over  the New York Times Crosswords. Why, I will need a website to market my pickles. How about http://www.pickleswithasnap.com?


It wasn’t until dill seeds were impossible to locate that I began to understand that heretofore, unbeknownst to me, an underground of canning aficionados must be feverishly pickling not only cucumbers but beans, carrots, peppers, and gluten-free cauliflower here in Fremont. And (note this clue, Mr. Holmes), dill seed is the key ingredient. Where are these men and women who took all the available dill seeds in the entire metropolis?

At this time, all potential pickle production here at the Rancho has come to a stiff halt.

Where and to whom does a girl turn when <alas> she is unable through no fault of her own to turn a cucumber into a pickle?

To Amazon.com, of course.

The dill seeds arrive on Friday, just in time for Pickles With A Snap to go into production.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Writing as crisp as a pickle

  1. cpartner@comcast.net says:

    Funny funny. Well written!Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App

  2. Richard says:

    Huh! Sitting on our kitchen worktop at this very moment is a dozen Kilner jars newly arrived from Amazon. Whether for jam or pickles this time, I do not know.

    I do know, however, that ingredients have also been arriving from Amazon, especially for the current anti-sugar campaign.

    Not for me the steaming cauldron, toil and trouble. Amazon do a good line in wool of bat and howlet’s wings, but you’ll have plenty of that.

    You, Kayti and Glenys make a trio!

    • Cheri says:

      Perhaps Glenys can send me her secrets before I embark on this experience on Saturday. Yes. I have Kayti nearby should things careen out of pickle control.

      Funny how our lives sometimes move in parallel universes.

      Is Glenys cleaning out her pantry and spice racks?

      In searching for dill seed, I began to look at the expiration date of my spices, vinegars, oils, and other baking ingredients. Ron had just suggested ( in his all-knowing way) that I throw out all the spices and start over. I became indignant!

      “For all the cooking you do around here, why would spices and expiration dates be of your concern?” I questioned.

      “Expiration dates are always my concern, my dear, ” he stated judicially.

      Well, look who’s right?

      I’ve thrown everything out and must restock.

  3. wkkortas says:

    I think having your writing described as “crsip as a pickle” would be one hell of a compliment.

    Just an aside/quick note–on the East Coast, and especially in the Noo Yawk metro area, pickles are a very serious business; I know people who will stop seeing you socially if you express a fondness for dill pickles which they deem as not being up to snuff.

    • Cheri says:

      Just from my yearly visits to the New York metro area, I know you are right.
      Last year when we took our 10 year old grandson to the Yankees-Giants game (when Mariano Rivera was honored), we stopped in at the 2nd Avenue Deli. Picklesnobbery was palpable. We did our best that day…and had a matzoh ball the size of one of Rivera’s fastballs.

      As far as having one’s writing described as crisp as a pickle, I decided to give my self the compliment. Can you believe it? ( Under the influence of chardonnay…)

  4. Dill seeds arriving tomorrow means I don’t have to give you mine. I have been reconsidering watermelon pickles this year.

    • Cheri says:

      I must find out about your recipe. I think you have posted it before. Forgive my mind but at the time, I never considered that I would be making pickles. By the way, were YOU the one who raided all of the dill seed from Whole Foods?

      • I’m sure you remember the old pickle factory at the corner of Osgood and Washington. It went out of business in 1975 but maybe you will revive it. I wish you luck, there is nothing worse than a limp pickle.
        Though my pickles were frequently edible, my sauerkraut project blew up in the garage.

        • Cheri says:

          What is the secret to a stiff pickle? Seriously…the dill seeds have not yet arrived so I have time to modify the recipe.

          • A stiff dill pickle? Luck. (grin) First of all you don’t need dill seed; I always used sprigs of dill weed. Soak the cukes overnight in ice water, dry them off, and use white vinegar instead of cider. Go for it!

            • Cheri says:

              OK. The cukes are icing in the refrigerator. I’m going to half the cider vinegar and use regular vinegar for the other half. The dill seed arrived (hooray!), the garlic is cut, the red pepper flakes ready…After I fertilize 28 jasmine vines on the fences, I shall attempt the pickles. I shall report back, dutifully. Thank you AK!

  5. This story was so funny,Cheri, and particularly so when one has been there – I’ve been there! http://maryjanebrant.squarespace.com/the-perfect-tomato/

    • Cheri says:

      Omg, this story was a riot, especially the part about waiting 4 hours for the tomato sauce to thicken. Mary Jane, where do I subscribe to your blog?

      Now, I am in a cleaning mode. I’m stripping everything out of my pantry. This comes on me when Ron goes salmon fishing. When I am alone (except for my Lab and my 9mm Beretta), I start throwing things out, going to Good Will and off loading. He has to lock his closet so I don’t begin the process for him.

      • Oh, I don’t have my blog anymore, Cheri, but I write a monthly column for a Jersey shore paper. Because they like the lighter touch at the beach the comedic side gets to balance that serious side. On the decluttering? Again, we are aligned. Let’s hear it for line dancing! I have so little in closets, drawers, rooms that my husband says when I die I will be like a person with no past, like the person on the beach who has a dustpan and brush and wipes away the footprints. HA! I say, just Google me, big guy, just Google me.

        • Cheri says:

          Ha! Well, send me your monthly column. I’d like that so much. I would like to be that woman on the beach with a dustpan. What a wispy image. After downsizing my mother’s home(s), I am motivated to get rid of everything I don’t use. This includes all those hotel samples of lotion and shampoo that I store in the guest bathroom, the socks that I might need when a glacier hits the temperate SF Bay Area, and all the leashes, collars, ear-cleaning solutions, brushes and dog stuff that I refuse to part with (just in case I want another dog (not)).

  6. shoreacres says:

    The first thing I had to do was go to my refrigerator and pull out a couple of pods of dilled okra. Delicious — and the only way I’ll eat okra.

    Then, I pondered how it was that I used dill seed, once upon a time. I think it might have been red cabbage.

    Then, I thought about Amazon, and wondered if some poor Amazon slave was working a 16 hour day to pluck your dill seeds for you.

    But the very best of all? You sent me scurrying off to Arlo, and the best song including the word “pickle” ever written.

  7. Cheri says:

    Oh, I will not eat okra. My mother, a Texan, would fry okra for us once a week. I overdosed on okra, but as things go and history repeats itself, I am sure that before the next harvest moon, I will be pickling okra and my mother will have the last laugh.

    As for Arlo’s song? I think I know it but I will follow your generous lead. You are a generous person.

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