A Peck of Pickles

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]┬átried to make pickles last week. They came out tasting like cumbers soaked in rubbing alcohol. I don’t have the knack my mother had. She could’ve pickled boot leather and it would’ve been fit to serve company.

Pickling was her thing. Compared to hers, store-bought pickles were a joke.

Mother also claimed her pickle brine was a miracle elixir. Capable of relieving headaches and constipation. I never believed her claims until I was twelve. My insides were backed up worse than five-o’clock traffic. Mother made me drink an entire jar of pickle juice.

After forty minutes on my side, the Lord visited our house.

Mother pickled everything from hardboiled eggs to beef livers. Daddy loved slimy livers. I didn’t want to be in the same county when he ate them. To be funny, he’d plop them on his face and pretend like they were gnawing him alive.

He made all the noises that might accompany such an event.

Mother’s most famous pickled delicacy was watermelon rinds. In the summers she collected them. When she had enough rinds, she’d pickle them better than Peter Piper himself. But we were only permitted to eat them at barbecues.

When we had guests.

And not everyone appreciated watermelon rinds like we did. In fact, some didn’t even know what they were. Once, my Uncle from New Jersey was visiting. Daddy barbecued a pork shoulder. When my uncle saw the rinds, he wrinkled his face like he was about to vomit.

He should’ve never done that.

Because then Daddy broke out the beef livers.


  1. Steve "Boston Steve" Holmes - September 15, 2015 11:44 pm

    Yes please,

    What an inspiration, thank you.
    On the thought of diet, and about to take in a recipe for pickles soon I was overtaken by a story a poem with no cup or boil for effect.
    Ooh, I said and jumped at the chance to open the fridge and look in deep at something I had left for purpose of times with music and friends.
    Soon that spell bound disorder of full of food and in need of vingar I crunched two down fast thanking both the wandering bard and the ma wha of red pepper flake..

    and thanks that was a great read.

    • SeanDietrich - September 16, 2015 11:49 am

      Thanks kind sir! And thank you ma-wah of the red pepper flake.

  2. Lauren Bradford - September 16, 2015 3:00 am

    My friend’s father (who just passed away 9/4/15) made the best pickles I’ve ever tasted. He called them icebox pickles. I’ve been thinking about making them ever since he passed. I want a good recipe and I’m worried I’ll be disappointed because they aren’t by him.

    • SeanDietrich - September 16, 2015 11:51 am

      I know what you mean. It’s almost like there’s something more to food than just the food itself.

  3. C.F. David - January 2, 2019 2:19 pm

    My mother made watermelon preserves, sweet, like chunky honey on buttered bread…mmmm.

  4. Barbara Bray - January 3, 2019 2:40 pm

    The only times we ever had watermelon rind pickles was at family reunions up in Georgia at Grandpa’s house . I think about them from time to time when I throw a perfectly good watermelon rind in the compost . Daddy loved his fried liver. The only way I would touch it was if Mama fried it extra hard with lots of onions and even then it was a maybe. ………love your stories , Sean . …even those about slimy liver.


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