Dill Will Set You Free

By Beacon Staff

Many tastes, I’m convinced, are inherited. I still have a hard time with tomatoes unless they are first puréed. The aversion to both the flavor and (more so) the texture was passed down from my tomato-hating father. Seafood that still resembles its life self, such as calamari, is also a turnoff – also inherited. But I’m still willing to try new things, because all the people sucking on frozen pickle juice can’t all have vulgar palates.

John Howard, a South Texan, got the idea to freeze pickle juice from his daughter-in-law. She was sucking on pickle ice cubes at church camp. So Howard began selling the simple concoction at his roller rink. When the unusual popsicles began selling out, Howard bought a hydraulic press to make more, left the rink and launched “Pickle Sickle.”

“There are a lot of closet pickle drinkers in South Texas,” <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/11/AR2008031100748.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008031102564" title="Howard told the Washington Post.”>Howard told the Washington Post. “We’re trying to get everyone out of the closet.”

Many are already out. Howard sells about 20,000 Pickle Sickles each month. And the snack has received decent reviews. The New York Times called them “refreshing.” Emeril, the famous chef known for “bam!”-ming food, says “sign me up.” And the Post has a great video on its Web site showing children’s first impression of the product. One boy sucks the sickle so fast he whines, “I have a brain freeze!”

It’s a long journey from South Texas to Montana, but I hope the pickle pops make their way north so I don’t have to go through the trouble of freezing my own. At least seven schools are selling the product so they must have some mainstream appeal.

The trick to uncomfortable food, I think, is to dive right in before someone influences your taste. After all, a palate shouldn’t be cleared until it’s first filled. Since pickle juice is credited with everything from fighting bacteria to curing hangovers – be sure to force it on your children without being presumptive. The dill will set you free.

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