I was never much for them as a young child, didn’t understand the process under age five. I started with sweet gherkins, moved to bread and butter, all the way to Kosher dills with a pastrami sandwich on rye with deli mustard.
Then I learned the strangest thing. Texans deep fry pickles, yes, my husband had me try one in a movie theater there. One of his favorite home dishes is my version of my grandmother’s pickled cucumber. I use a European (seedless) cuke and marinate it at least 1/2 hour or overnight in apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. It’s nice sliced, but elegant for a luncheon when it is shaved into thin ribbons with a peeler, perhaps mixed with beets at the last moment (so the entire dish doesn’t end up red from the beets).
What I wanted to write about at the cusp of the New Year is Pickles and Chips. My mother sent me to an English riding teacher as a kid. When we moved to the country she hired a high school gal, Debbie, to teach me Western riding. No-one where we lived rode with an English saddle. Pickles was an ornery Shetland pony. Chips was a beautiful quarter horse.
I finally learned that when Pickles put his ears back, I was in for a ride. He threw me across the creek one time. When Debbie said leave me and Chips, go left in a walk, right, then canter diagonally and meet me back here, I tried. A test of sorts.
Forget the canter. He laid his ears back and galloped, stopping full bore right by the homemade sand box (a large one framed by railroad ties) and I tumbled over his head and fell into the sand. He ran 1/4 mile home, where Debbie’s parents were having a dinner party.
I was shaken, but fine. Only my pride was hurt as the entire dinner party toting Pickles walked up our long driveway to see who he threw (they knew he would) and if I was OK.
Many years later I have petted my young cousin’s gorgeous female Percheron, a majestic creature. I’ve not been on a horse or pony since age nine and would like to do so. My husband is allergic so he can’t go with me. Perhaps his brother or our cousin, Zoe’s vet, will do so before I am too old to participate.
Here’s to all kinds of pickles, and to Chips! Dee