Not surprisingly, I have had a bit of a pushback in regards to a post I wrote yesterday regarding whether pickled cucumbers should just be called pickles. The answer, as far as I am concerned, is a resounding no. Despite my best efforts to talk sense into the world, some people still disagree with me.
The main disagreement came from Ingrid over at “Pussy Has Furballs”:
I have several points to pick(le) at here. First off, pickles are pickles. They’re cucumbers. In all my life, if a menu has said pickles, or if someone has asked me if I want pickles, they’ve always meant cucumbers. Always! Of course you can pickle other things, but that’s when you specify that it’s ‘pickled onions’ and not ‘pickled pickles.’
Secondly: I didn’t even realise that pickles were actually cucumbers. After reading your post, I burst into Mum’s room. She looked at me surprised, and then excitedly began telling me something about politics. I cut in: “WHAT ARE PICKLES!?” (Yes, it was that dramatic.)
She began to explain that different things can be pickled, which isn’t the point. I told her that it isn’t the point. I asked her, if she asked me to get the jar of pickles out of the fridge, what would she be referring to? The answer was cucumbers.
Thirdly: If you Google ‘What are pickles’, the first result that comes up is cucumbers, with a helpful pic(kle)ture. Wikipedia concurs.
On a website titled ’10 Facts About Pickles’, they say that Julius Caesar fed pickles to his men as he believed that they offered physical and spiritual strength. Did Julius Caesar have arguments with his men about whether he meant pickled dill? No! Did they think he was going to take them out for dinner at Big John’s for pickled eggs? No! And to prove that the website was referring to cucumbers and not turnips, there were pic(kle)tures through out the slide show depicting cucumbers.
In fact, cucumbers earn their right to be called ‘pickles’ by default because they were the first food to be pickled 4000 years ago in India.
This is why, Mr. Badley, your wife is right and you are wrong. When you refer to pickles, they are by default cucumbers, and that’s why if you’re ever referring to anything else pickled, you have to say that it’s ‘pickled capsicum’ or ‘pickled (insert name of vegetable or whatever here), because capsicum and eggs have not earned the right to be referred to as just ‘pickles.’
And finally: You’ve used the word ‘pickles’ so many times that it’s lost all meaning. It now looks stupid when it’s written down. It doesn’t look like it should be a word. We need to find a new word for pickles because you’ve ruined this one.
Now, I must state that I do not harbor any ill feelings towards her. In fact, she is, as far as I can tell, a fantastic human being. That being said, I do not like to lose arguments. I am not a very competitive person except for situations where a debate of great importance like this arises. With that in mind, I will now step by step explain why this argument for the word “pickle” is wrong.
First, I would like to begin by stating that the play on words in the first line is fantastic. I giggled like a little schoolgirl when I read that. It was really quite embarrassing. The rest of this argument, though, is pure hogwash. On a side note, why “hogwash?” I guess the rest of my evening is going to be wasted Googling that phrase. Sigh…
Just because everyone calls something by a name does not mean that this is the correct name for this particular item. For instance, I can name dozens of people in my life who have spoken about their love for “expresso” drinks. The issue with that, though, is that “expresso” is not a thing. It is espresso. If everyone were to start calling the coffee in a latte “expresso,” that would not make it right. That would just mean that they were all wrong together. With that said, “Expresso” would be a great name for a high-speed car wash or ultra-fast fast food joint. I am going to go trademark that in a second.
Your second point just proves my general thesis of my original post. For those who have not read this piece, shame on you. For you, though, I will summarize a main story in the post.
A coworker of mine did not realize that “pickles” are actually cucumbers. This means that all these years of us calling them “pickles” have prevented him from learning that pickling is a process, cucumbers are pickled, and that is what he calls a “pickle.” Now, if we had just all along called them pickled cucumbers, he would know EXACTLY what he was eating. (Probably. He might still have been confused about the word “pickled,” but that would be on him at that point.)
Ingrid here has just stated that she too has been tricked into believing that pickles are not cucumber related, further proving my point that this naming of pickled cucumbers has severely destroyed the world’s knowledge of preserving foods.
Thirdly, Googling proves nothing. If I Google “pickle,” it also pulls up a computer programming language. As far as Wikipedia goes, I think this proves that I am correct:
Also, we do not just name the first thing created using a certain process by that name. For instance, Ancient Mesopotamians fermented barley and a variety of grains to create a drink. Do we call that a “Ferment?” No, it is called beer. The same can be said about dried grapes (raisins) or dried plums (prunes). Each one of these products was given a ridiculous name to differentiate it from other products that were created using the same process. Maybe “pickled cucumbers” should be called “Flernterings” or something as ridiculous. That would definitely differentiate it.
The last point, though, is very strong. After reading the word “pickle” more than twice, it just looks absurd. No, pickled cucumber does not look better after repeated reading.
In conclusion, I AM NEVER WRONG! Hahahahahahahahahaha! (That laugh is meant to sound diabolical, not like an insane person, so please read it as such.)
I anxiously await Ingrid’s rebuttal. In the meantime, please go check out her blog. Like I said, she seems pretty nice.