Monday, February 13, 2012

Pickle Soup and dealing with Pickle People

People say you crave pickles when you are pregnant.

*Let me clarify,
this is NOT an announcement.*

I never craved pickles when I was pregnant.
Tapioca pudding, yes.
Egg drop soup, ranch doritos, whoppers, tacos from Taco Bell, 
and the other two common ones:
ice cream and watermelon.

(Now I am hungry.)

But I never craved pickles.

Pickles have such a strong flavor.
They remind me of some people:
 they are bold,
making everything around them smell like pickles,
everything they touch tastes like pickles.
Once they're in the midst,
there's no avoiding them.

Pickle people are like this, too.
They seem to be "in your face,"
(and in everyone else's for that matter).
They do everything the "right" way,
or at least they think so.
And because that is not good enough.
they want you to know how to do it right, too.

The funny thing is,
they typically are very good at what they do:
they tackle their duties and expectations with determination
and there is no stopping them.

I think this may be, often,
what makes them so hard to take.

As much as I hate to admit this about pickles:
they do their job,
and they do it well.

One thing I have learned
(and keep learning in life)
is that God has a reason for everybody.
The church is such an example of this:
so many different talents and needs are there,

It's easy sometimes to take offense,
to compare,
to gossip,
to think of ourselves as better.
After all, nobody sincerely walks around saying,
"Just blame me.
  I'm wrong all the time.
I pretty much know nothing."

It's much easier to think that somebody else is the wrong one.
Anybody else, for that matter.

But it's easiest to think that about the pickles
pickles seem to think that about everybody else.

But, we need them.

We need pickles to spur us on to think about what they're saying,
to push ourselves,
to check to see if there is any truth to their spice and zippiness,
to run it through the ingredient list of what the Bible says is right.

Often there is truth,
if only they'd learn to approach the unpickled with a bit less
spice and fervor,
if that is possible for a pickle.

When there is wrong in the mix:
gossip, bitterness, malice, self-glorification,
God cannot be pleased.
So it's up to us,
all of us,
to guard our ourselves: our motives, our tongues
to practice the verse that I find myself quoting
whenever a pickle enters the room:
"Great peace have they which love thy law
and nothing shall offend them."
Psalm 119:165

It's a wonderful truth.
Not always easy for any of us to practice,
but really useful when it is.

After all, there may be people who think of us
as the pickles in the mix.

Of course,
they are wrong...

That being said,
I love pickle soup.
Pickle soup is exactly what I'm talking about:
it's pickles, under control, mixed with the blander vegetables,
but the pickles enhance the taste of the pot of soup.

Talents and gifts all working together to make soup.

My Russian grandmother used to make Pickle Soup,
and when she died,
I grieved her.
Part of that was all of the wonderful dishes she made
that were so much of what I remember about her.

I came upon a recipe one day over at Time Warp Woman Blog
which, I think, means Summer Borscht.

I love Borscht and was curious what Summa Borscht was.

As I read it, I grew excited and happy,
and a bit sentimental for my Grandma.

I was reading what sounded like Pickle Soup.

I made a batch, and changed it up just a bit
to be more like what I remembered about my Grandmother's soup.

For those of you who like a dilly taste,
in the beautiful moderation of soup,
here is is.

8 cups of water
1 pork roast (mine was about 2 lb)
(all the other recipes I read used ham; I prefer the taste of roast)
3 Tbs of dill (or more to taste)
2 Cups of spinach leaves/swiss chard leaves
1 Cup of chopped green onions
10-12 Potatoes
three dill pickles, shredded,
1/4 cup of the juice from the pickle jar
Salt to taste, pressed clove of garlic, and kelp (optional).

Saute roast, searing both sides and then ad water to pot.
Bring to a boil,
turn down, and simmer for about an hour.

After about an hour,
add the dill: seeds or weed,
I just use what I have.

Wash and roughly peel the potatoes,
but leave whole.
Add these to the soup.

I always ad a clove of garlic to nearly everything
because it is so good for the body.

I also add kelp to anything that I can 
for the same reason.
It has a slight seafood taste,
but is not noticeable in small quantities.
I added about 2 teaspoons.
I use Real Salt: that's why the color looks a little dirty.

I store my green onions in the refrigerator in a glass with water just under the roots
and then put a plastic bag loosely over it.
This seems to keep my onions longer.
(If you have a successful way of storing them,
I'd love to know!)

Some recipes use spinach,
some don't ad any greens at all.

I had Swiss chard on hand,

so I used it up.

In the final stage, it tasted great.

I felt my first attempt was lacking for this soup,
so I add three dill pickles.
In this recipe, I just cut them up,
but next time I will shred them to integrate them into the soup more.
Add the 1/4 cup of pickle juice.

After the roast is cooked,
remove so that it can cool
and be cut up into bite-sized pieces.

While the roast is cooling,
the potatoes should be done cooking,
so scoop them up...

and break them up with a fork.
This gives a nice texture to the soup.

Add the bits of meat back to the soup,
dish up,

and enjoy.

My grandmother always served her soups with Rye and Pumpernickel breads.
Sour dough bread is scrumptious with this as well.

Pickles in soup may not sound appealing,
but I dare you to try it.

Although I do like eating them,
pickles in soup is scrumptious!
(for printable recipe, click >HERE<)

Linking up to:


  1. Ha! This is very funny to me...for the last several years hubby and I have been growing,making and selling our own pickles. My husband is now known as the "Pickle Man" to all of our customers covering 3 states! Your opinion of the pickle fits him to a "T"! I've never thought it to be a common pickle trait, I just thought it was a Norwegian thing;) It's true we all do need each other. I know his zippiness spices up my boring personality, and I tone him down when he gets carried away. We balance each other out! I just wish I could've put him and my German grand-mother in the same kitchen together to make pickles! That would have been something to witness!

  2. Oooo, Sall, I would LOVE to get a good dill pickle recipe if you have one. I'll have to check your blog. I have a refrigerator recipe, but would like a canning recipe! Funny about your husband. I'm not sure I want to admit which of my husband or I has the "Pickle" personality in our house...I think sometimes it varies. But we definitely balance each other out. And yes, it makes life never have a dull moment! :)

  3. I like your pickle analogy. And I wish I were there for a bowl of that soup!


  4. Sometimes (I hope only sometimes), I think I come off as a "pickle". You were right, we "pickles" are sometimes bold and think we are right. Thankfully, in time I usually see through my thickheadedness and realize that my way is not always right or best (like my post- A Lesson In Silence). Praise the Lord that He can still use the "pickles".
    Can't wait to try your recipe, it makes my mouth water.

  5. Another great thought-provoking post my friend. Love the pickle people analogy. I have to say, tho, I'll be thinking pickles the next time I'm in one of "those" situations! I pray only that I will also remember your very sage and appropro bible verse to go along with the label. Pickle soup tho....might be able to coax me into trying it, but I'd be the only one here in the nest to do so....I always put a bit of pickle juice in my sloppy joes and my husband promptly boycotts them. Now if I could only figure out how to get pickle juice into my chocolate stash so he'd leave that alone as well! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  6. What a great post! Your pickle soup looks delicious, and i can imagine the wonderful flavor the pickles would give it.
    I'm hosting a weekly blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, every Sunday! I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Just stop by my blog on Sunday - the link will be up!

    I hope to see you there :)


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