Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pickles, Macaroni, and Betrayal

My family loves pickles. I don't really know why, but we can eat tons of them. My wife finds them disgusting and reminds me of that often. She will also make a huge deal out of buying them for me, like I sent her to the corner to buy contraband and she had to run away from gun-toting psychos with the prize even though she despises them instead of just picking them off a shelf in the grocery store.

I remember loving them as a kid and eating them whole whenever I was offered one. I have cut back though. I eat a few slices of them on my sandwiches. Yes, I eat a dozen of the baby dills at Thanksgiving...and dilly-beans are like crack to me, but I don't eat huge pickles whole anymore. I blame my older sister for destroying my love of whole pickles. I'm lucky she didn't snuff out the joy of pickles entirely.

I was four or five. My sister who is around six years older thought it would be fun to play some pranks on her naive little siblings. She recruited my older brother as her minion. He was too young to know better...at least he claims.

My sister would take a whole pickle out of the fridge and carefully bore holes into it.

Okay...now is when this gets gross. You squeamish people should not continue. She would send my brother to gather dead flies from the window sill.

My brother doesn't have a hump, but I imagine him with one as he obeyed my sister's orders, shuffling along like Igor as he plucked the largest of the dead or dying insects from the ledge. Legs twitched and red eyes glared blankly at the boy who held them in his hands. You can imagine where this is going.

My sister thought this was hilarious. Don't worry. I'm sure karma has big plans for her. I didn't find out until years later. Maybe the passage of so much time left me less sickened, let me keep my love of pickles despite the nauseating truth. I wasn't so lucky with mac and cheese.

A few years later, when we lived in Louisiana, I got a steaming bowl of mac and cheese for lunch. I was excited as any seven year old would be by mac and cheese.

I dug in with enthusiasm. Okay...this is even grosser. Look away now if you have a weak stomach. Several spoonfuls in, I bit down on something hard, not crunchy, just firm. I worked it forward in my mouth and pulled the foreign object out. I assumed it was a piece of cardboard that my sister had dropped in with the batch as she dumped the box out.

I assumed wrong. What I held in my hand horrified me and continues to haunt me. It was the abdomen of a cockroach. Yeah...I know. I gagged and refused to finish my mac and cheese. No one put it in there, just managed to make its way into the box. My family made fun of me forever.

"Charlie ate a cockroach!"

"At least I don't know what a cockroach tastes like!"

"Want some mac and cheese, Charlie? Extra crunchy?"

I can't look at mac and cheese now without seeing this:

Even writing about it now makes my stomach churn. My only consolation is my family ate their bowls without incident, but what they failed to realize was the cockroach I pulled out of my mouth had been in the box and the pan with their yummy macaroni. They ate its boiled remains too and that makes me happy.


Candice said...

First, I just have to say: EEEEEWWWW!!!

Second, I don't like pickles very much. My husband LOVES to eat baby sweet pickles as a snack. I can't stand them. They smell like feet.

Third, I like macaroni and cheese. Your story reminds me of my short time up at Utah State University. I was boiling some mac and cheese for lunch in my apartment one day. The noodles were nearly done when I looked and saw two Box Elder bugs boiling along with the noodles. Needless to say, that batch got thrown away and I made some fresh mac with a lid over it to prevent further incident. I didn't eat any bugs that day, so I wasn't traumatized. Whew!

Fourth, I just have to say again: EEEEWWWW GROSS!!!

Emily White said...

Some cultures might think you were lucky to find such a delicacy in an otherwise boring boxed food. But yeah, that's really gross.

Brent Wescott said...

Wait, you DON'T buy pickles on the corner from gun-toting psychos?

And cockroaches = protein. Health food.

Chanel said...


I can't BELIEVE your sister did that!

Oh. Oh, man. That is so NASTY!

I'm sorry you ate a cockroach, but I don't judge you. Statistically there are eight roach and spider legs inside of every bar of chocolate. I eat a lot of chocolate.

Alyson said...

Gross! I do like pickels though, as long as there aren't flies inside.

Michael Offutt said...

Sn00ki loves pickles.

Bryan M. White said...

So, let me get this straight. Your sister cooked up a pot of macaroni without realizing that there was a cockroach in it, and you're the one that gets made fun of!? Sounds like my family.

mark said...

SLACKER..... where is my new funny?

Blue Sarah said...

Mac & Cheese comes from a box? We always make our own. Tastier (and safer) that way.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Candice - You are lucky. Sweet dills are also horrifying. Dills are salty. Sweet ones are unnatural.

@Emily - That is why I live here. Some things are not a delicacy...ever.

@Brent - Okay...we do. They just have the best pickles. I'll also remember that next time I cook for your family...

@Chanel - Mmmm, chocolate covered spider legs.

@Alyson - Me too.

@Michael - Okay...now I dislike them more. Why would you do that? And why do you know so much about Snooki?

@Bryan - Exactly!! Messed up.

@Mark - Shut your mouth, Igor!

@Blue Sarah - Nice. Rub it in. :)

Morgan said...

Charlie...that's just gross! *heebie geebies*

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