On Sunday, I stumbled across a box of tattered Christmas knick-knacks while digging out holiday decorations in the attic. After a cursory scan, it appeared to be garden-variety yuletide trash and craft fair rejects that should have been jettisoned many years ago. As I further picked through Santa’s misfit refuse, one item caught my eye. Long, slender and metallic green, the ornament bore striking resemblance to a pickle. Not possible. Why the *%$#@ would anyone make a tree ornament shaped like a pickle? (Incidentally, among the least photogenic of all foods.)
Fast forward several hours……
My wife patiently explains to me the tradition of an elder family member hiding the pickle ornament in the family Christmas tree and then afterward the kids hunting for it. I am awestruck. This is perhaps the most asinine ritual in existence, and I’m intrigued by her inability to explain the origin. Soooo…I dug around on the handy dandy internet to get some answers. As it turns out, there are numerous websites dedicated to the glorious history of Christmas pickle ornaments. Go ahead and indulge yourself *here and here if curious. As is usually the case with oddball customs that sound completely fake at first, the practice originated in Germany. (See also **Polterabend).
This blog is dedicated to enjoying good food. Don’t be an idiot and hang pickles (real or fake) in trees this holiday season. Pickles should be eaten. My suggestion would be to consume the fine garlic dill pickles made by Elman’s (conveniently sold at Feast). I recently enjoyed some sliced Elman’s pickles and spicy mustard with duck rillettes from Les Trois Petits Cochons. Simple and delicious. Also, try layering pickles on pulled pork sandwiches, a little bird told me this was tasty. A little bird that knows about pickles and pork.
*Regarding life in Berrien Springs, Michigan: If you currently have the title of “Grand Dillmeister” and once a year lead a parade handing out fresh pickles along the route while being cheered by throngs of pickle loving fans, I salute you. I can’t think of a better honor in life.
**Regarding Polterabend: If any of my family or friends tried to smash an old porcelain toilet in my driveway, and then drink beer and watch while my wife and I clean it up under the auspices of the chore strengthening our marriage…there would be bloodshed. Our marriage is plenty strong thank you.