Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pickle Memories

It funny how we associate certain things in life with certain areas of our life. 
As a child I LOVED pickles - LOVED THEM - And right from the get go. 
But as a child with diabetes, pickles were a free food - And I equated pickles with being normal and the freedom to go all ape crazy when it came to eating them.
Also: I'm a bit of an oddball adult and was mostly likely an oddball kid - But diabetes had nothing to do with that ;)   
Latest farmers market pickle purchases -
Pickled jalapenos and dill chipotle pickles & onions ~
I was little, maybe 4 or 5 and I was sitting on the floor watching reruns of Batman with my older brother Johnny with a plate full of dill pickles at my disposal. I sat there munching and crunching and sounding out the words POW and POP as they appeared on the screen, one of the rare times I didn't jump up and make pretend to POW & POP, all superhero style. 
And when my mom and I made those rare (but not as rare as you might think,) visits to McDonald's as a child, I always asked for extra pickles on my cheeseburger - ALWAYS - And I got them. 
Meals at any diner meant me asking for the pickles on my parents plates - And most of the time they'd give them to me - Or split them with me. 

And if the pickle wasn’t crunchy - I had no use for it.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, pickles took on a whole new meaning. 
I distinctly remember the feeling of extreme relief when I learned in third grade that even though I had diabetes, pickles were indeed a free food. 
The ADA Diabetes Diet Exchange poster was tacked up right behind my seat at the dinner table & when I learned that my pickles were free food, I drew stars and exclamation points all around the word PICKLES.
Pickles (along with raw carrots, sweet peppers and cucumbers of course. (and sugar free JELLO, mustard and ketchup) didn’t need to be counted, measured or weighted - Pickles were mine for the taking and I took them! 
AND AS soon as someone would say pickles I'd immediately say FREE FOOD! And even to this day, I still say that without even thinking!
Sometimes as a kid I'd eat so many pickles my stomach would hurt and my mom would put the kebash on my pickle intake for a while.
But kudos to my mom for understanding that pickles = some weird normalcy in my diabetes world. So we always had a jar of pickles or two in the fridge. 
The summer before I entered 8th grade my parents and I took a trip to Canada to visit my Uncle Roy, my mother’s older brother. We ended up going to a BBQ at my uncle’s friends - I can’t remember their names, but I do remember that the wife made amazing baby to medium sized dill pickles from scratch and she sent me with a big jar filled with her homemade pickles. And that pickle filled jar made 13 hour car ride back to NJ - And all in one piece. 
The following Christmas when we went back to my Uncle's to celebrate the holiday. And when we arrived there were 3 giant jars of homemade pickles with my name on them in the fridge, courtesy of the nice Canadian pickle lady. 
Over the years my palate matured and I developed an affinity for little french cornichons and pickled hot peppers and onions - Even pickled spicy carrots - which I didn’t think I’d like, but I totally did.
10 years ago when I started gardening in earnest and began growing cucumbers (along with tomatoes, hot peppers and squash) I developed whole new respect for pickle manufacturers.
Pickles are cucumbers - everybody know that. And cucumbers grow so damn fast that in one day you can go from a baby dill sized cucumber/future pickle to a medium. 

Yep ,the pick time window of opportunity for a particular pickle is limited and the art of pickles was more complex than it seemed - Sort of like diabetes - which is probably another subconscious reason I associate pickles with diabetes.

How about you - What's your deal with pickles? Do you like them? Do you hate them? 
Do you associate them as being a free food when it comes to life with D?


Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

O.M.G. Radishes too. FREE FOOD!!

The deli at our neighborhood grocery store had the whole pickles in a big barrel next to the counter - I was the only kid whose mouth watered when I saw one wrapped in aluminum foil and begged for them like Popsicles.

We were weird eh?! ;)

StephenS said...

Pickles? Yes! And olives too. A couple of things:

1)I don't do it often, but every once in a while I'll go to the Cow Town flea market in NJ (on the way to Atlantic City), and my first stop is always to the place that sells the most amazing pickles I've had anywhere.

2)My brothers and I would watch Batman, and not only say the words on screen out loud, but actually act them out. Guess that makes me oddball too.

Unknown said...

Ah yes - pickles. I developed T1 diabetes at age 20, 35 years ago now, back in the "dark ages" of both technology and knowledge. But even then the "free food" list had pickles right at the top. I always loved pickles (my dad was a big fan of them), but for the last 35 years I don't think I've ever lived anywhere that didn't have a jar or two in the fridge at all times.

I'm especially fond of crunchy deli's coming out of the jar right now.

Scott E said...

And here I thought my affinity towards pickles was simply a result of being Jewish. But yes, I'll fill up on pickles if I've got that emptiness in my belly (sadly, it never helps!)

But watch out for the so-called "bread-and-butter pickles". They're like sweet dill slices, and they do pack a carb-punch (POW!). I learned this after seeing a jar of Sugar Free Bread-and-Butter pickes in the store.

Also, I blame whoever proclaimed raw carrots as a free food for about twenty unexplainable high BG's.......per year.......for the last thirty-three. I still wrongly think or them as free, and always realize my mistakes later.

Rich the Diabetic said...

I loved this article Kelly. Thanks. Not an hour ago I was digging into a jar of pickles. I attend a ren faire every summer, and I'm scheduled to attend the "Pickle Pub Crawl" there this summer. Love me some pickles at faire.

Matthew said...

You're hilarious!
I did the same thing, only with Gilligan's Island and Battlestar Galactica... once at a wedding put a sweet pickle in my mouth and spat it out, almost hurled. I'd never heard of them and never wanted to again!

I can still eat like 5 or 6 spears...

If only I knew back then that stuffing myself would make my small intestine make me make glucagon :(

Thanks for the laugh!