Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And That's What I Like About the South

I grew up with a love-hate relationship with my native South, and over the years it has grown into a love-love relationship as I've stopped being embarrassed by the eccentricity of my native soil and started appreciating its weirdness for what it is.

Take food, for example. I've always said if a Southern cook doesn't know what to do with something, she'll batter it and deep-fry it as sure as I'm sitting here. Thus you have such Southern delicacies as hush-puppies (fried cornbread), deep-fried pickles (don't laugh--these things are yummy), fried pies and fried corn fritters. We, however, will not take credit for fried candy bars and other fair food travesties. That the obesity level in the South is higher than the rest of the country, and how that relates to our proclivity to batter and fry everything, is a topic for another day.

But now there's a new Southern-Fusion twist I'm not so sure about: the Kool-Aid Pickle.

Do 7-11 type stories outside the South have those requisite big jars of pickled pig snouts and other body parts sitting by the checkout counter? Well, the newest thing is giant dills soaked to the gills in a Kool-Aid mix.

Take a gallon of dills and cut them in half. Mix some double-strength Kool-Aid with a pound of sugar--preferably cherry, tropical fruit or strawberry--and soak the pickles in it for at least a week. Slice your pickles and they'll soak up even more flavor.

I suppose this isn't so very different than the making of "bread and butter" sweet pickles, but it just SOUNDS so very bizarre, never mind the infusion of massive amounts of sugar into something as innocuous as a dill pickle.

But the fluorescent-red pickle's kinda cool.

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