Monday, July 28, 2008

Listen to the drums beat

Smoky hot refrigerator pickle cucumbers

Just as, in winter, I would cheerfully eat nothing but Indian pickles, plain yogurt, and rice; from July 4th through September I would, if I could, live on tomato sandwiches. It has been thus as long as I can remember.

And by "tomato sandwich" I mean: white bread, a little bit toasted; Miracle Whip, sliced tomatoes from the garden, salt. This is one of the things, like mayonnaise on baked beans, and unlike incipient osteoporosis, that I have gratefully inherited from my mother.

Have I experimented with the formula over the years?
Have I tried a sprinkle of Old Bay instead of salt? I have not.
Have I substituted regular mayonnaise for Miracle Whip? Only when I have had to.
Have I flirted with rye bread? or wheat? sourdough? Please. Fuck you. This is what I do, man. Do I make absurd suggestions about how you cocktail your drugs? I didn't think so.

However. This summer, I happen to have stopped using reg'lar old Morton's salt almost altogether. I use the big thinger of sea salt when I'm cooking, because it's easier to grab, and we use this fancy Île de Ré grey sea salt our friends brought us back from France on the table. So when I went to make my first tomato sandwich of the summer, I grabbed the salt guncha-guncher and ground the grey salt onto the tomatoes. AND DAMN.

I think that that's what opened the door. Reckless experimentation. Forty-two years old and this is the first time I've put anything on a tomato sandwich other than my teeth.

I have been making these spicy cucumber refrigerator pickles this summer, because Bob's brother Joe has been bringing us more cucumbers from his garden than even Zhou can eat, and because I've been trying to duplicate the brine formula in Smokra, the pickled okra you can buy at Whole Foods for like ten bucks a jar. Ten bucks! That's like 50 cents an okra, and I eat that stuff like if I stopped someone would swoop down on the kitchen and beat me.

You put a couple slices of those cucumbers on my tomato sandwich and stand me in front of the sink to eat it, and just don't count on me paying any attention to anything else until I'm done.