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Ethical Eating

Yummy! Soggy Pickles in a Can!

It is not at all hard to make pickles. All it takes is a few vital ingredients: cucumbers, some brine, a jar, and some patience. If you're missing any of these things, your pickles won't turn out so hot. Also, it seems I've just discovered if you have too much patience, that's also a bad thing in the pickle making world.

I found a can (yes a can) of Osem Mediterranean pickles on the shelf during my most recent visit to Publix. The bright yellow can practically jumped off the shelf, and the big green comic book style word bubble proclaiming "Medium Size Pickles in Brine (7-9 pickles per can)" made me giggle. The rest of the print on the can was basic stuff: Product of Israel, No preservatives, Kosher for Passover and all year round, and a list of ingredients. Inside this can is a combination of cucumbers, water, salt, acetic acid, dill, garlic, pepper, and calcium chloride. Nothing there scares me in any way, and I imagine these will be just like the pickles you buy at the deli, with a little added tin flavor thanks to the packaging.

I brought the can home and cracked open the top with the aid of the handy pull tab. The smell that came rushing out was much less vinegary pickle scent and much more canned tuna scent. Within a few seconds, my cat was vigorously rubbing my leg and meowing. It might have been a coincidence, but I don't think so. When I peer into the can, I see a few pickles floating in milky white brine. This is definitely not what I was expecting.
I take another deep breath and can't shake the feeling this can was once used as a home for the chicken of the sea. Seeing that I loathe tuna fish, this has all but spoiled what little appetite I'd mustered for these pickles. With typically low expectations, I drive a fork into the most immediately visible pickle and pull it out of the sea of milk.

And the third grade me giggles hysterically for a solid minute. Never

in my life have I seen such a sad looking pickle. Once I regain my

composure, I raise the pickle to my mouth and take a bite. The

satisfying crunch I'm expecting doesn't come. Instead, my teeth slide

through the pickle as if I'm biting into a tube of old yogurt. Despite

the awful texture, the pickle actually tastes pretty good: There's

enough garlic, dill, and pepper to add a spicy kick, salt isn't

overwhelming, and the "tin can" taste is hardly noticeable. I throw

away the rest of that pickle and spear another one, hoping the texture

was an anomaly. It wasn't. Every pickle in the jar (all 9 of them) has

the same jelly-like consistency.

Who should eat these? Teething infants who have an intense craving for

aged cucumbers, fuzzy black cats, and Pnigophobics who need dill in

their diet.

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Brett Gillin

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