After spending a good portion of the last three days in the house (and most of that time asleep), I actually got out of the house and went to Corner Bakery for a sandwich, and then over to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato. Opening the plastic bag, I took out the sandwich I ordered, which came with a bag of chips, and wrapped in a thin, paper napkin inside the plastic container containing the sandwich, was a spear of a pickle.
Most sandwich orders (in America, at least; well, save for Subway) include chips and a pickle. Usually if those items are listed on the menu, I say, no thanks. Most times, they are not, and it’s only after you’ve ordered, received, paid for, and eaten part of the sandwich, that you realize that the pickle is there. Sometimes it’s a whole pickle, but usually it’s just a spear, and usually a mushy spear. I don’t know quite where this tradition originated, but it was probably at a delicatessen somewhere in New York City.
I have mixed feelings about this.
First off, I have nothing against pickles. Yes, they’re high in sodium, don’t really have much in the way of nutritional value, and are about as close to the vegetable family as popcorn, but when pickled correctly, they can be tasty. I’m not too fond of sweet pickles, but dill pickles can be a nice snack once in a while.
But the juicy dill pickle is a far cry from the average deli pickle, which is usually mushy, gross, and tasteless. I am almost convinced that every sandwich shop just has a bucket of these awful, soggy pickles, just like every pizza place has the same tasteless salad, with huge tomato chunks too big to fit in your mouth and tiny shreds of carrots and red cabbage that either get stuck in your teeth, or, if you’re on the go, end up in your lap or on your shirt. Sandwich shops don’t even bother to present the pickles nicely; usually they’re wadded in either cling wrap or a soggy paper napkin.
Taking it out of the sandwich container with contempt, I contemplated what to do with it; eat it, or do something else with it? Eating it has its disadvantages, as I’ve stated above. There are a few things you can do with that undesirable pickle. You can throw it away, but like I previously stated in the plastic cup lid conspiracy post, that would be wasteful. Unlike the lid, this pickle is actual, edible food, so it makes the act a bit more wasteful. On the other hand, who would eat that pickle? If you have a friend that enjoys eating them, and they’re sitting at your table, then you’re in luck. If not, there are very few options. Waving it in the air and yelling “My pickle’s up for grabs!” will get you more than one blank stare, and may get you kicked out of the restaurant. You could always give it back, claiming that you didn’t order it, thereby getting it off your hands with a clean conscience, but somehow I think that it’ll end up in the garbage, even if it is still wrapped in plastic. Any way you slice, you’re either going to have to face that briny cucumber and make a decision that you can live with.
I unwrapped the pickle from its soggy napkin, some of which tore off and remained stuck to it, resulting in me having to peel it off with my fingertips. Trying to forget the sodium content and the bland taste, I sucked it up and sucked it down.
Wow, that is a terrible ending to a story.
Deli pickles are gross and should cease to exist.
But you can always have mine.