Pickles II

I submitted my first blog yesterday and I lied through my teeth.

I said that Mt. Olive no longer sold sour pickles.  I said that my own sainted mother’s recipe for garlic pickles was extinct on account of the unavailability of Mt. Olive Sour Pickles.

Just goes to show you.  If you read it on the Internet, it is most likely bullshit.

My eldest daughter, Grace, is coming for a visit.  She and Heather and the baby live in a suburb of Boston and they damn sure don’t have any Mt. Olive Sour Pickles.  But I digress.

I went to the grocery store today to stock up for the visit.  Naturally I came home with two pounds of frozen crawfish, a couple cheeses and a six pack of funky beer made right here in Tampa.  I also bought staples like chocolate Greek yogurt, whole milk, bacon and allegedly farm fresh eggs from chickens that are still living wonderful lives walking freely around some farm listening to public address announcements discouraging them from eating any bugs.

Anyway, while I am at the store, I take a turn down an isle with, oddly enough, sugar and flour on one side and pickles and vinegar on the other.

Damn if they didn’t have two gallons of fresh looking Mt. Olive Sour Pickles!  Big as life.  If they had teeth, they would have bit me.

The last time I saw a jar of Mt. Olive Sour Pickles, was back in October or November of last year.  I could not find them at my regular store.  I even asked the manager where they might be hidden.  I assured him that people like me had been buying pickles like that for generations and that I would wait patently on aisle four until three gallons of Mt. Olive Sour Pickles appeared between the Bread and Butter Pickles and the Sour Dills.  The manager assured me that this was not going to happen.

Ever.

I made regular surveys of the pickles in that store and sure enough, no Mt. Olive Sour Pickles.

I began a dragnet of the local grocery stores and eventually found my quarry in a very bad neighborhood with very good food.  I ran right up there on a Saturday morning and got Princess parking right out front.  I went straight in and joined a large group of shoppers I was sure were all there to buy pickles.

The store had a popular butcher shop that sold every part of the pig including ears, feet and ribs.  It had a spectacular selection of beef tongue and chicken livers.  Beautiful chicken livers!  The vegetable department smelled like peppers and onions.

Eventually I found the Mt. Olive Sour Pickles.  They had three one-gallon jars.  I was greedy and bought them all.  I also stocked up on Mason jars, chicken livers and pork product.

When I got home I washed out the all purpose plastic “dish” pan I use for everything from making oyster dressing to soaking my feet.  I then opened my first jar of Mt. Olive Sour Pickles.

Completely rotten.

I gagged.

You could put your finger through any one of them.  Mt. Olive Sour Pickles are as long as a regular hot dog and as big around as a 4th grader’s wrist.  They should be hard and dense enough to throw through an old screen door.  The missed clue was the Chardonnay color of the brine.   It should be clear.  Further, if my eyes were not clouded by retail victory and greed, I would have noticed that the pickles had variations in color and were not that beautiful front porch green one comes to expect from a Mt. Olive Sour Pickle.

I wrote off that first jar thinking, “What did you expect?  You paid $5 for a jar of pickles in a grocery store in a bad neighborhood where they may not have the luxury of rotating the stock as often as they do in higher end stores where they sure as hell don’t sell fatback and pig’s ears.”

Then I opened the second jar.

Same thing.

And the third.

The moral of the story is don’t bad mouth your favorite pickle man until you pick up the phone and confirm and don’t buy pickles in a bad neighborhood, where most of the patrons shop there as the store is within walking distance of their bus stop and where the unfortunate shoppers are used to being screwed over by a chain store that knows full well they are going to have to come back there and shop again.

I will let you know how the pickles turn out.

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