Post of the Day
October 15, 1998

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Subject: But is it a quality Pickle?
Author: stetho

[This was posted in response to the Pickle Fribble]

More than a few years ago I was employed by a large pickle maker. No, the company, the pickles were normally small. My job for three long sweat filled summers was to stand and watch a machine. My machine was an 18 or 24 blade rotating wheel that cut cucumbers (the larval stage of the mature pickle... but then I better not get started on larvae), and other experimental objects on occasion. Yes, for those years, a good percentage of the continent's lattitudinally sliced cucumbers in brine (aka pickles) were cut by the machine watched by yours truly... as if you had ever thought "I wonder who cut these? I know they don't grow this way." The cucumbers are fed into a shuffler, which turns them all sideways, and are then propelled at high speed through the rotating blades.

It was my job to watch the cutting machine as well as the beltload of pickle pieces that was leaving the room. When the belt leaving the room stopped, I had to jump up and catch 1000 pounds of pickles in bushel baskets before they hit the blades.

I have officially served my time in purgatory.

Prior to slicing, the cuc's come from a scrubber and blancher set-up where they are supposedly cleaned and heated so that the inside of the cuc is hot, and the outside has a few less bugs on it. This is the crux... the larger the cucumber, the longer it must remain in the blancher in order to have the internal temperature reach the appropriate level. The longer in the heat the more cooked and therefore less crunchy the outside edge will be. Dills aren't a problem as they sit outside in a vat full of brine for a number of months... everything is soggy (trust me... buy "fresh packed" pickles... avoid big mushy dills). But, as we all know, a good burger had to have a good crunch, and it shouldn't come from the meat.

What is the coefficient of crunch of these "new" stackables? Is there a crunch gradient control board? Has this product received FDA approval? We consumers need to be protected from "progress" when all it does is impede creativity and promote laziness.

How can I make "happy face" hamburgers when the eyes are now the same size as the patty?? Will the fast food employees now have time to read Ulysses now that they have one less arm movement to do? Maybe they'll even have time to learn to count and make correct change.

It's a plot I tell you, a vicious evil plot perpetrated by do-gooders, liberals and ex-hippies. For all you know the United Nations is in on it too! I can just see it... in some California office... two natural linen wearing vegetarians, probably named Starlight and Blossom came up with the idea. "Hey Star, I was meditating under my crystal last night about the plight of our brothers the cows. Do you think that if we made pickle slices big enough to cover the whole meat patty, we could gradually make them smaller again while reducing the meat portion at the same time?" "Hey man, like that's so-o-o cool Blossom. Let's do it! Before you know it everyone will be like us. We'll all be one happy planet."

It's not fair. It's not fair I tell you. The world is out of control. What's next? Preshaped mustard??

Bill (stetho)


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