Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pickles, Peppermint and Pomegranates

After nipping the tops off the large, juicy, spicy dill pickle, a peppermint stick is poked into the flesh. The pickle, peppermint combo is then dusted with powdered strawberry or cherry kool-aid.
For nearly a year Pam, Peggy and I would pool our pennies to score pickles, peppermint sticks and a package of kool-aid from the ‘penny’ candy story. We were in the third grade and we thought this concoction second only to Chic-O-Stiks.

I haven’t had a pickle in I don’t know when. I haven’t had the pickle, peppermint, kool-aid combo since the third grade. I moved away from Pam and Peggy and haven’t seen them or our treat since. The new neighborhood’s ‘penny’ candy store didn’t even sell pickles.

A few blocks from where I work there is a pickle factory and distribute business. Every so often, when the wind is just right, the vinegary, cucumber stench aroma from the plant reaches my nose and prompts a joyful little tromp down memory lane.

There are a number of pleasant food and food combo memories from childhood. There are also a number of very un-pleasant foods from childhood that I prefer not to remember or re-visit. The worst of the bad foot vignettes star beets and black-eyed peas. The peas I was convinced to re-visit with dire results. Beets, I thought I might be now mature enough to re-visit. I haven’t and I don’t think I will, now because...

I did recently re-visit a good food memory. Eating pomegranates was a childhood favorite. My friends and I, from the many neighborhoods I inhabited as a child, all indulged in pomegranates. We peeled and pulled the tangy, sour seeds from the pulpy center with reckless abandon. I remember our fingers being stained by the juicy seeds. I bought a pomegranate a few weeks ago for the first time in many years, bringing back a surge of a few happy times.

For my morning snack break, I broke open the pomegranate. I start to peel back the skin, dig through the pulp to plop out the seeds. I ate one and then two. I peeled more and found a cluster of seeds. A funny feeling started to come over me. Not a funny ha-ha happy, but funny icky, weird feeling. I kept peeling and eating. The creepy crawly, heebie jeebie, willie nillie feelings kept coming, intensifying. Each pull of pulp, each exposure of a cluster of the deep red seeds, brought on more itchy twitchies. I’m feeling a little goosey just thinking about it now.

Enough! After only a few seeds, I toss the whole thing in the trash. I take the bag out to dump it into the office dumpster. I wash my hands and all the while deciding that some things are best left in the past.


  1. I tend to agree. Although... I'd take beets over pickles WITH peppermint any day.

    I really enjoyed reading this, btw. :)

  2. Anonymous7:50 PM

    I had a recent revisit to brussel sprouts and was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked them. As a kid I thought they were truly evil little cabbages.

    Funny how our tates change...

  3. My mother use to torment my brother and I with peas and carrots. He hated carrots, and I hated peas. Today, I love both, just not together.

    I just can't imagine pickles and and peppermints together....

  4. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Peppermint pickles.

    I'm going to have to ponder that one for a while.

    And Trish... don't be fooled. Brussel Sprouts really are just evil little cabbages. I refuse to give them a second chance.

  5. Both beets and black-eyed peas fall on the "never ever eat" side of my food chart. I've never had a pomegranate either, but I'd be willing to try one of those.

    The whole peppermint-pickle thing intrigues me.

  6. elizabeth7:52 PM

    chic-o-stiks rocked my penny candy store world. Now, do you think it was foreshadowing?

  7. wow, this brings back memories. I honestly still have a very immature reaction to the thought of eating beets and okra.

    I was never much of a pickle eater as a kid, but some of my most fond memories are centered around penny candy. My favorites were lemonheads, go figure.

  8. We have a pomegranate tree in our yard. In the five years we lived here, patience and vigilance aside, the squirrels have eaten every single fruit. After you account, it sounds just as well. Let the squirrels feel goosey.

  9. I HATE PICKLES. Really hate'em.

  10. I can honestly say that I've never heard of pickles with peppermint. But, I'm seriously considering it.

  11. Was it the texture of the pomegranite that made you feel the creepy crawlies?
    I've only had a few in my life, but always considered them to be more work than necessary.

  12. Funny, we used to eat pomegranites as treats when I waws a kid, too. I see them today and think of the old days, but I never yearn to eat one.

    The peppermint pickle? Thats a new one on me.

  13. I'll take the beets but the pomegranties always made too big a mess.
    How bout fried pickles and peppermints?

  14. foreshadowing? probably.

    Why the creepy crawlies? maybe the texture.

    Fried Pickles?..nah..nope..not on a bet.

  15. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I've always enjoyed those childhood memories, pickles/peppermint, penny candy, and freeze cups were all there. Pomegranates are awesome too.

  16. Anonymous10:39 AM

    They made me eat beets at summer camp. I had to go outside because I... er... got sick. I tried them again many years ago and they turned out to be one of my favorite foods. Just don't drop them on the tablecloth!


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