Don’t Ask Why

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
With summer only weeks away-and summer vacation coming sooner-you’d think that a boy would be longing for school to be out and the air condition to be on (which, I should add, we haven’t used yet).

While that kind of stuff is on my mind, I’ve got other thoughts.

Like Reader’s Digest.

This is my personal favorite magazine because all you have to do is read. You don’t have to take a quiz to see if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend are compatible by answering a question that says, “In your opinion, are you a potato chip, ice cream sundae, or banana?”

Every month the mailman brings in a new magazine full of stories, and-best of all-jokes! The first thing I open the Digest to is “Laughter, the Best Medicine.”

On the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond” (except those who have a bad taste for comedy), Ray Barone’s father, Frank, had sent a joke into the Digest. The joke made it to the press, and the majority of the episode was used with Frank trying to come up with another joke to send in. He never made it.

I’ve been going through some of the old Reader’s Digests my family has in the basement. I found an interesting story: “Paradise on the Palate-Pickles.”

Mmmmmmmmm! I love pickles! According to Reader’s Digest:

“A pickle is a comic thing. As jolly and plump as an overweight opera tenor, it is a cucumber with goose bumps. Its aroma is gaudy, and each bite yields a juicy crunch that’s audible three tables away. The pungency makes you think there’s a tap-dance going on inside your mouth.”

Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? On the first page there is a picture of seven barrels piled high with pickles-each a different species-and in the middle of the circle are two people wearing green shirts that say “The Pickle People.”

I wish I was a Pickle People. Or is it, I wish I were a Pickle People? How do they pick the Pickle People? Properly?

According to Patricia Linden (the author of this sweet and sour story), pickles have an interesting history.

“The pickle has figured in history since wild cucumbers were first cultivated in Asia thousands of years ago. A sun-loving variety of the gourd family, the cucumber sprang up on one continent after another as fast as the ancients could sow the seeds. It wasn’t long before people figured out how to preserve summer cukes for the winter by embalming them in brine. Eventually, handfuls of dill and other rousing spices were added to give the cukes a zesty e’lan.”

It goes on to say that even today cooks are experimenting with different recipes.

Readers Digest is just so interesting. You find so many stories that you just can’t find anywhere else. Oh, and Cheryl Jost, think you could come up with a pickle recipe?

Don’t ask why.

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