Word of the day

To pickle is to embalm a vegetable in the holy waters of new life. Some priests trust the sterile clarity of vinegar to silence microscopic dissent. Others crave cacophony. They call forth a billion-billion anaerobic bacteria — or yeast — and set fire to our food. Closer to alchemy than baptism, it gives our vegetable second life.

The result of pickling is a pickle. A flame preserved in amber. Both biomass and glacier, a pickle lives in borrowed time. Only engorged in cloudy brine might a pickle have his first lucid thought: I was but a cucumber before this day.

Lid liberated, paradise lost. For plight of a pickle, is itself another kind of pickle. A pickle is a problem. It’s larger than a “jam” and smaller than a “kettle of fish.” A torpid dill cucumber expecting eternity is mistaken. His destiny waits on the other side of a mouth cinched shut from tartness. Past gnashing teeth dripping with saliva, down a vestibule of flesh to damnation. Where all pickles are lost.