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.