Sunday, August 2, 2009

There will be snacks (and pickles)

I know we're gonna meet someday
In the crumbled financial institutions of this land

There will be tables and chairs

Pony rides and dancing bears

There'll even be a band

'Cause, listen, after the fall
There'll be no more countries

No currencies at all

We're gonna live on our wits

Throw away survival kits

Trade butterfly knives for adderal

And that's not all -- Woah!

There will be snacks, there will

There will be snacks

There will be

There will be snacks!

I've had this song by Andrew Bird in my head for days now (above is an excerpt). And I've been so intrigued by its lyrics - the air-balloon lightness of some words couple with the lead-weighted seriousness of the topic, like the comic relief in a tragic Shakespearean play. Some lines really get to me, like, "Just don't let the human factor fail to be a factor, at all." And I love how something simple and common-place as snacks are included in his idyllic description of what the world "after the fall" will be like. (See the video below I found on YouTube of someone's class project where they used this song as the soundtrack to a video collage of news on the Hamas transition to power in 2007)

Anyway, something Ben and I have been snacking on lately has been our home-made pickles. We grew impatient (okay, Ben grew impatient, picking up a jar every day or so to look at them and ask if I thought they were ready. "You tell me," is what I would reply, since, after all, the recipe was his mother's mother's recipe) and we opened a jar of pickles we sealed up on July 12th. Ben bit into one and excitedly exclaimed how delicious they were, then he walked over to me, sitting at the computer, and offered me a bite. I took a bite and was met with the perfect blend of vinegary, salty goodness that melted in my mouth, yet remained crunchy. They were perfect!

Honestly, I love pickles. My sister, sister-in-law, and I hover over the pickle and olive spread at family gatherings and I'm not sure if anyone else gets to enjoy any of the briney goodness but the three of us. These home-made pickles? The best pickles I have EVER eaten.

So, since our first batch was an overwhelming success, we made more this weekend. We picked up some more regular cukes and a huge bunch of dill at the farmers market. We also got some lemon cucumbers in our farm share, so we decided to experiment, using the lemon cucumbers to make pickle chips in our smaller canning jars in addition to the pickle spears we would make in our quart-sized canning jars.

Ben sliced up the cucumbers and I mostly watched and took pictures :)

A recipe courtesy of Ben's grandma. This will make approximately 2 1-quart-sized jars of pickles - double and triple as you wish!

2 large cucumbers
6 sprigs dill
2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
2 Tablespoons salt

2 1-quart-sized canning jars

Run the jars through the dishwasher or boil in a pot of water for a few minutes to sterilize.

Slice the ends off of the cucumbers and slice into spears, determine the length of your spears by planning for some head-room at the top of the jars.

Place a clove of chopped garlic and 3 sprigs of dill in each jar, then stuff with the cucumber spears.

Heat the water, vinegar, and salt in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Pour over the cucumber spears in the canning jars and seal with the lids (careful - the glass jars will be hot!).

Place the jars somewhere hidden so you won't have to anxiously look at them everyday and wonder if they are ready yet. Wait about 2 weeks until you try the first jar and, once the jar is opened, store it in the refrigerator.