Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stickin' it to the Man

I recently "ran into" (via Facebook) an old college friend who was pretty surprised to hear that I'm a work-at-home mom who sews and cans her own strawberry jam, etc. I wondered where he figured I'd end up, since my way of life is just second nature to me. So I've been thinking about this idea quite a lot lately. If you're wondering what in the world this has to do with pictures of homemade pickles, hang on--I'll get there.
I've mentioned in the past that if you'd known me back in college or the few years just afterward, you'd likely be as surprised by my present-day lifestyle. I was not exactly the model Bible college student. I always meant well, but, let's just say that there were certainly things about me that were never tamed. Needless to say, learning to sew my daughter dresses and baking bread don't exactly match up to the girl who was constantly in the Dean of Women's office having to explain this offense or that. 
I certainly have changed quite a bit since then, but I'll also add that a lot of my choices of late are sort of born out of that spirit of rebellion, as opposed to being in spite of it. I'm doing a lot of things that are unconventional--natural childbirth, cloth diapers, alternative and holistic medicine, and the list goes on. Certainly my food choices are going to be no exception.
For example, today Charlie and I made homemade pickles from this recipe. While I was prepping, Paul asked why in the world I felt the need to make my own pickles when I can just as easily buy a jar of them. I laughed and replied that I'm "sticking it to the man," or something like that. I hope that by now you know that I'm half kidding, but only half. I don't mean to be melodramatic about it, but canning my own pickles, simple as it is, is one of my many little protests that I display against the machine that is the conventional American way of eating. Instead of buying yet another prepared food off the supermarket shelf and having no idea where these things that are called pickles come from (did you know that pickles actually start out as cucumbers???), I'm buying vegetables directly from a farmer and turning them into food for my family. A very tasty food, if I do say so myself.
A friend recently showed us this video that was so well done for a variety of reasons, and it so artistically and hilariously describes this battle between Supermarket and Farmers' Market. Please check it out if you have 5 or 6 minutes (if you're a Star Wars fan, you definitely do not want to miss it): "Grocery Store Wars."
Today it just so happens that a brand new farmers' market opened up just around the corner. Another small victory for the rebellion! I'm so happy that this way of shopping for food is becoming even more popular these days. People are shopping more wisely and supporting our local farms, and it is paying off. We're gaining momentum, and we need to keep heading this direction in order to make our voices heard. So keep frequenting your farmers' markets, growing your own edibles, and joining your CSAs.

8 small pickling cucumbers, unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Combine cucumbers, onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, dry mustard, turmeric, and celery seeds; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Boil 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Pour cucumber mixture into a large bowl; cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Cover and chill overnight before serving.

From sliced cucumbers:

To Bread and Butter Pickles


  1. Those look delicious! You'll be bringing some for 4th of July, no? :)

  2. AHAHAHAHA. The Dean of Women's office. I only had to go there once for disciplinary reasons. I went to a movie my freshman year and got a hundred demerits for it. Got socialed the week before Bible Conference. UGH! Those were the days, eh?