Part of the Fam

I thought I’d give you all an update on Chris’ dad since I’ve gotten some emails about it (read about Chris’ family crisis HERE).   He is home from the hospital and recovering nicely.   We Skype’d with him this past weekend and he was looking better and he was in high spirits.   Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers for his recovery.   They were very appreciated.

Tonight while I was cooking dinner, Chris peeled a cucumber on the counter next to me and I was, once again, reminded of his family.   Growing up, Chris, his dad, and his sister, Annie, ate cucumbers every night.   Their granddad grew them in his garden and he’d bring bags down every week.   I always thought that many cucumbers would go bad in a house with only three people, but those suckers didn’t even have a chance to think about going bad.   They were eaten too fast.

The thing about the cucumbers at Chris’ house was that they were prepared in a very particular way.

First, you peel the cucumber and slice it up in a bowl.   And you have to slice them up really thin.   No thick sliced cucumbers in Chris’ dad’s house.

Oh, and the cucumber bowl.   Finding the perfect cucumber bowl is a tough battle.   It has to be deep and the top rim has to be really wide.   And its better if its glass.

Don’t ask me why.   These aren’t my rules.

Once the cucumber is peeled and thinly sliced into the perfect cucumber bowl, you then salt and pepper to the point where you think its just too much seasoning.

And then you salt and pepper a little more.

Now, at this point you have a critical decision to make.   You can continue on to the next step if you’re in a hurry.   But if you’ve got the time to spare, you should cover this bowl with plastic wrap and then stick it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

This might seem like a weird step to take, but Chris’ family swears that it makes the cucumbers taste better.   Something about the salt drawing out the water in the cucumbers.   Or something like that.

I don’t question their process.

Usually during this 15 minute break, I play with my food while I wait.   I get bored easily.

Now, after letting the cucumbers “chill” in the fridge (har, har, har), you do the final step.   You drown the cucumbers in vinegar.

That’s right.   Vinegar.

At Chris’ dad’s house, they used apple cider vinegar.   And I would dry heave for about 45 minutes after coming close to the bowl.   It was awful.   Apple cider vinegar is only for professionals.   Amateurs should stick with good old fashioned white vinegar.

And, yes.   That is a super-sized jug of vinegar from BJ’s.   Chris eats a lot of cucumbers.

Now, I know that eating sour, tart cucumbers in vinegar doesn’t really scream “FAMILY!” to the average person.   But a bowl of cucumbers in vinegar takes me right back to high school, sitting in Chris’ dad’s kitchen, watching Chris, his dad, and his sister chowing down.

Cucumbers are sacred in their family.

Actually, I wasn’t even allowed to make them for YEARS.   You can’t just make a bowl of cucumbers in Chris’ family’s house.   You have to be a proved, certified cucumber eating professional.   I made my first bowl of them when Chris was in grad school and we were married.   He had to train me for months.   I never got the seasoning right.   I never used enough salt and pepper.

Now, I still eat the cucumbers in vinegar.   But I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to that bitter first bite.

But Chris?   He has no problem with the cucumbers.   Vinegar runs in that boy’s veins.

Vinegar and family.   They’re both bitter and tart and they make you scratch your head and say, “WHY???????????”

But in our house?   You can’t live without either.

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20 Thoughts to “Part of the Fam”

  1. I’m going to try that next time I buy cucumbers.

  2. OK, so my Daddy is a little different. He does the cucumbers with salt, pepper, and vinegar, but he adds a peeled, thinly sliced homegrown tomato. And he likes them in the fridge overnight in tupperware. This may be upsetting for Chris and his family to hear about, being cucumber purists and all. But I always think of my Daddy when I think of cucumbers and tomatoes and vinegar!
    It is funny the things that remind us of those we love. . .

  3. Ashley

    People in my family eat these as well, but I have never tried one! Im a VERY PICKY eater! 🙂

  4. Gin

    In my family we did the cucumbers in vinegar, though not with the salt and pepper, I might have to try it. We would also usually have a few red onions in the bowl too. They are also amazing soaked in vinegar!

  5. Well the cucumbers looked good in the first picture, I was still with you somewhat on the second one but on all the others you lost me. Though it almosts sounds like making pickle chips from scratch with the vinegar. I think I will stick with my plain cucumbers and maybe add salt every once in awhile. I must get a clear bowl though…

  6. I don’t normally like cucumbers…but I’m definitely going to try this!

  7. Sandy

    I know what you mean by that first bite…but after that you can’t stop. I have never been able to get the vinegar right, but go to any good ole’ salad bar down here in the south and you can eat your fill of those overgrown pickles!

  8. We do that, but we also sprinkle them with balsamic vinegar after the s&p. Both ways are good!

  9. It’s pretty funny how the littlest things remind us of home.

  10. Amy V

    I remember reading before about Chris’ obsession with cucumbers, and it instantly struck home with me too! My family prepares them the EXACT same way (we prefer to have them sit in the fridge a bit too). My husband used to find this sick side dish/snack/ritual very gross but now he is in on eating them too!!

  11. My dad made those all the time and still does when I come to visit him. The first bite STILL gets me every time but I love them!

  12. That is how we ate them when we grew up. About 2-3 nights a week. And you have to let them sit and “chill out”…man…I need to go get a cucumber now!!

  13. Tressa

    You can have my share of cucumbers, I don’t like them. I love to hear about other peoples childhood memories, that they carry on into their own families.

    Sorry I didn’t comment on yesterdays post. I’m still LMAO. 😉 I never once thought about having my babies see me nude. So I found it very funny!! I don’t think Beanie will remember. I’m curious, when the shower curtain came down, did he think it was funny or did it scare him?

  14. jean

    My husband, makes the same thing. He from a farm in Minnesota. Must be a farmer thing.

  15. Heather O.

    My first experience with cucumbers and salt with with a very close friends of mine. We have been friends since the 4th grade. (and have been out of HS since ’95, ekkk)I remember thinking there is no way I am going to eat those…now they are one of my favorite summer treats!

  16. Katie's Grandma

    This blog takes me back a long way. We had a big garden
    and sliced cucumbers AND sliced onions in a bowl with
    vinegar was a real treat. BUT we added salt, pepper,a
    bit of water to soften the (red) vinegar and a dash of
    sugar (don’t all good cooks use sugar in everything??)

  17. I just found your blog and I’m really enjoying it. It’s making me laugh a lot. I didn’t know anybody ate cucumbers as much as my family! All summer long and well into the fall we have them everyday with every meal. My sister and I make a big batch early in the week and they go on the table every night with dinner. Although our recipe is slightly different. Same with the salt and pepper. But then when we add the vinegar (and we only use white vinegar) we also add thinely sliced white onions and sugar. The sugar/vinegar ratio is very important it’s 3/4 cup vinegar to 2 Tb sugar. The sugar takes some of the bite out. My husband still thinks it’s weird but he’s getting used to it!

  18. Really funny! We did the SAME exact thing growing up. Craziness. Must be some sort of old tradition 🙂

  19. I like them with salt and lemon juice. YUM.

  20. Zoe

    That is quite possibly the strangest food preference I have ever heard of. Can’t stand cucumbers, personally. It’s nice when families have their own little traditions, though.

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