The Legendary Pickled Cucumber Debate

In any relationship, there tends to be disagreements. Whether it is over chores, forgotten holidays, or simple things like not placing the cap on the toothpaste, these disagreements can be a stumbling block for even the most steadfast of relationships.

My marriage is no different. We have disagreements just like anyone else. For the past few months, we have had a very strong disagreement brewing that every so often will rear its ugly head.

It started several months ago when my wife and I were discussing sandwich accoutrements. Why we were discussing this, I cannot remember. My best guess it is was a discussion following another disagreement about what belongs on a sandwich. Often times, these disagreements lead into one another.

As we discussed sandwiches, my wife was running down the list of Subway sandwich ingredients. We passed the olives, the spinach, and the tomatoes.

“And we have to have pickles,” she declared. This brought up an issue with me. See, for those unfamiliar with this particular high-end sandwich chain, there are not one, but two pickled options available for consumption. You can have pickled banana peppers or pickled cucumbers. While I was pretty sure I knew what she was talking about, I decided to clarify in a gentle and understanding way

“Pickled what? Pickled cucumbers? Do you mean pickled cucumbers? I bet you mean pickled cucumbers,” I said, very genially.

Thus began the Legendary Pickled Cucumber Debate of 2013. For days, we would discuss this. She would insist that the word “pickle” is synonymous with pickled cucumbers and, as she often pointed out, that “pickles are an entirely different food.” Naturally, I would reply by asking if she meant that pickled beets are a different food than ordinary, non-pickled beets. The debate even carried over to the grocery store. Unfortunately, no relief was to be found there as every jar was labeled with phrases like “Kosher Dill Spears.”

The Legendary Pickled Cucumber Debate of 2013 carried into 2014. For the sake of our marriage, we stopped discussing anything pickled. Every so often, though, we would find ourselves back at it, though, with me calling them “pickled cucumbers” and her telling me how stupid that was.

To me, it seemed stupid to take the entire label of “pickle” and apply it to but one item you pickle. No one refers to cake as a “bake” just because that is the method that is used to prepare such things. That is because you also bake hundreds of other things. I would make what I thought was a good, nay great point, but it did no good. We were at a standstill and it looked like no one would ever win this very valid and incredibly relevant debate.

Until today.

At work today, a young coworker was speaking about his favorite food. Now, in reality, his favorite food is anything that has been fried. I contend that if you were to take an old plastic bottle, fill it with motor oil, and then batter and fry it, he would think this was a fantastic food.

In this scenario, his favorite food was fried okra.

While discussing this, I mentioned that pickled okra is also very good. This brought a very confused look from the young man.

“What do you mean ‘pickle okra?’” he asked, the most puzzled look a human being could have pasted all over his face.

“Pickled okra,” I said. I then explained what pickled okra was in the only way one can. “It’s okra that is pickled.”

He continued to look at me, more confused than before. I could see the wheels turning inside his head. Finally, he spoke again. “But… how is it a pickle if it’s okra?”

It turns out this young man had no idea that pickling was a process. He knew nothing of brine or jars or anything involved with the process of pickling food. He thought that the only food in the world that was pickled was a cucumber.

This is why everyone on the planet should call them “pickled cucumbers” and not just “pickles.” Everywhere, poor confused people do not understand that other things can be pickled. By referring to them as “pickles,” you are confusing literally billions of people per year. (This number may not be accurate as I did not have time to conduct a study before this post. You get the idea though.)

I say it’s high time the other pickled foods stood up and fought. Where is the pickled herring industry? How come Big John’s Pickled Eggs choose to stand by silently as the cucumber takes over the entire pickled industry? There should be rioting in the streets over this. People should be flipping cars, then jumping on top while they scream “You can pickle anything! Don’t let the man take that away from you!”

Most importantly, I have some ammo ready the next time this debate comes up. Sure, many people may call them pickles, but that is damaging the youth beyond repair.

The next time you are about to call them “pickles”, just remember: the children are our future. We do not want our future to be a bunch of dummies.


18 thoughts on “The Legendary Pickled Cucumber Debate

  1. 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.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The funny bit is that there are other foods that simply ursurp a whole preparation process and call themselves after it, ignoring that other foods can be prepared in this manner as well. I am talking about fries, of course, and here, too, the British have the best solution by simply calling them chips. Which is confusing in its own right but at least you won’t see fried bananas, icecream and onion rings rise up against this injustice, together with the pickled herrings, beetroots and eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are so many times when the “first” of something gets to be known by its name eg. Kleenex – so many people use this word when they actually mean tissue; snowmobile or skidoo when they actually mean snow machine; etc., etc. Just call what you refer to as pickled cucumbers as “dills” & everything will go back to normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Legendary Pickled Cucumber Debate II: The Quest for Peace | The Life and Times of Nathan Badley...

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