This week’s feature food is cucumber, but the real inspiration for this week’s recipes is University. I have two anecdotes that set up these recipes; here is the first.
THE TIME MY MOM MADE VEGETABLE PORN
My mom was a stay-at-home mom for a good chunk of my childhood. She embodied every classic television mom; she cleaned, she cooked, and she believed her children could do no wrong. She was Carol Brady, Kitty Forman, and Marge Simpson all wrapped up into one hot Hungarian momma. Until she went to university.
My mom decided to get her university degree when she was in her forties. All of the sudden, my wholesome mom was no longer cleaning up after us because she was busy studying, she was no longer cooking for us because she was busy writing papers, and she was no longer naive to the ways of the world. This was the first time us kids met my mother “the person” instead of my mother “the mother”.
There were a series incidence that morphed my mother into a human being, but the one that involved cucumbers is the most vivid.
My mother makes the most amazing pickles in the world. When she is pickling, she has bushels of cucumbers in the backyard, bags of garlic, and mounds of dill. She was taking an art course in university during pickling season. Her assignment was to combine two unrelated objects into one. She came home with a her finished sketch and, from a woman who had been nothing but wholesome our whole lives, she unveiled it for us and proclaimed, “I drew pill dickles!”. She had drawn a jar of her pickles, but replaced the cucumbers with dicks of various sizes and shapes. In honour of my fondness for my mom dill pickles and my memory of pill dickles. I have a video recipe this week to help you can the best pickles in the world. In the universe, maybe. How do I know? Because, clearly, my mom can pickle anything.
This is an old family recipe that is best watched than read, so when you are ready to pickle, conjure up this video and follow along. Starring my mom and Toe Jam Monday’s Monica.
MOM’S DILL PICKLES
THE TIME I DATED A HOMELESS GUY
When I was in university, I met a guy at a local punk bar in St. Catharines. I was not a punk, nor pretending to be one. I don’t actually remember how I ended up there, but I did.
His name was Colin and he was not my type. He had a shaved head, big Doc Martin boots, a Misfits t-shirt with holes in it and he seemed to live in shades, not in colour. He rocked to music like he was digging with a shovel and he stuck his tongue out a lot.
I think Colin decided I was like the punk version of slumming it because I was everything punks raise fists at. My parents paid for my stuff, I was generally happy, and I truly believed the government was doing the best they could. I actually had a t-shirt that said “I heart authority”. Okay, that last part I made up.
This story doesn’t end like it would in the movies, with Colin and I falling in love, him being offered a position at my father’s non-existent multi-million dollar company, and then growing his hair out.
The ending might not be fairytale, but the relationship had its moments. I’ll never forget the taste on my lips. The sweet and salty taste, a little bit tangy at times, but very juicy. I’ll never forget that sandwich he made me that one time. It was the best sandwich I’ve ever had. Sigh.
Colin was doing a Master’s thesis on squeegee kids in Toronto. Part of his research was to go and live with them for months at a time. It takes a certain kind of person who can be accepted by a bunch of squeegee kids, so maybe that paints a better picture of him. Needless to say, it didn’t work out between us. But sometimes on a cold night, I make a Colin Sandwich and roam the streets of Toronto, looking on park benches and dark alleys looking for the punk that got away. Okay, I made that part up, too.
THE COLIN SANDWICH
Baba Ghanoush (an eggplant dip you can find at your local grocer – try to get a “lite” one)
Lite Havarti Cheese
Billy Bee Honey Mustard (it has to be Billy Bee)
Whole grain wraps.
Spread Baba Ghanoush on wraps, top with honey mustard and slices cheese. Lastly, load on the cucumber, wrap and enjoy.