Speaking of pickles
More than a month has passed since Smucker’s, basically an American jam company —Yes, a jam company! — swung its corporate fist and dealt Newfoundlanders an awful punch in the gullets.
In the same way a puppet politician is permitted to speak in the voice of the Supreme Politico, so to speak, Smucker’s Canada spoke in the voice of Mr. Smucker’s Parent Company — spoke horrors that sounded like this in unsuspecting provincial ears: “Hey, Newfies, b’ys, we idden cooking any more of them Zest mustard pickles.”
En masse, Newfoundlanders wept; wept monsoons over their Sunday dinner plates; wept until their watery gravy washed off their plates like tsunamis.
“Harry, my own sweet pickle,” said Dearest Duck. “Perhaps you are being a tad extreme.” “No more than a tad,” said I. “Why do you even care?” said Dearest Duck. “You don’t eat many mustard pickles in the run of a year.”
“That’s true,” said I, “but I’d like to know I could crunch that chunk of cauliflower if I so desired. Besides, it’s never nice when overbearing institutions force change on a culture. Sure, look what happened to the Indians.”
“Hardly the same,” said Dearest Duck, “and you should be more politically correct.” “I s’pose,” said I. Dearest Duck left my side. I hoped she’d gone to fetch me Tension Tamer, toast and jam.
Now, to hoist my derailed train of thought back on its tracks…
After Mr. Smucker’s announcement, the resulting pickle ballyhoo that caused Newfoundlanders’ lachrymal glands to leak like sprung plumbing, came to pass because future Sunday Dinners would suffer from a dearth of sweet mustard pickles.
Ah, yes. Sunday dinner. The traditional — for a hundred years or so anyway — Newfoundland Jiggs Dinner.
Jiggs Dinner, a feed, a scoff that in light of the present social upheaval, I shudder to say does not suit my palate. At the risk of being banished with rocks and having my citizenship revoked I must say I’d rather eat cookies and cake. Be that as it may… Pundits — gustatory gurus — believe said Sunday repast gets its name from the once popular comic strip Bringing Up Father in which Jiggs, an Irish hod carrier — hod carrier? — who’d won a lottery and moved to America, loves to chow down on corned beef and cabbage. What odds. “Harry,” Dearest Duck has said a thousand times during our merry matrimonial years, “I’d cook Jiggs Dinner but you don’t like it.”
“My Duck,” I’ve replied a thousand times, acknowledging that merry matrimony involves compromise, “never use me as a reason for not cooking something you like. Cook up a scoff and toss it on my plate. I’ll smother it with…”
Not mustard pickles. Although I confess that occasionally, I’ve tried that widely favoured condiment, hoping that my sweet tooth, savouring the sugar in the mustard, would distract my taste buds and permit me to swallow a forkful of the most unpalatable portion on my plate — friggin’ pease pudding.
Alas, not even for Dearest Duck, the sweet mustard in my life’s pickle jar, have I even been able to glutch pease pudding into my puddick.
Yes, yes, I’ve tried but I can’t even force it down my throat with the backside of a spoon. “Harry.” “Okay, my Duck, enough about me and what a sour dill I am.”
Like a poacher in the king’s forest who, releasing his arrow a smidgen too soon, too late realizes that killing the king’s own deer will cause a furor, Mr. Smucker — or p’raps his Canadian puppet — said, “Oops, bad move.”
Even as the first flood of tears flushed from Newfy eyes, Mr. Smucker was — in a manner of speaking — patting the populace’s back and promising, “You won’t have to do without your pickles for too long because …”
… well, because Mr. Smucker decided to set wheels in motion that would soon stock Newfoundland’s empty shelves with a replacement brand of sweet mustard pickles — Bick’s Sweet Mustard Pickles.
Thoughts of his own wallet never once crossed Mr. Smucker’s mind, eh b’ys?
I told a lie back there a ways. Bent the truth at least.
Oftentimes — twice a year guaranteed — I eat Jiggs Dinner when Dearest
Although I confess that occasionally, I’ve tried that widely favoured condiment, hoping that my sweet tooth, savouring the sugar in the mustard, would distract my taste buds and permit me to swallow a forkful of the most unpalatable portion on my plate — friggin’ pease pudding.
Duck boils up the beef and caps my plate with cabbage.
But I never smother the grub with mustard pickles.
I bury the spuds, the carrots, the turnip … the whole shebang, with double scoops of Granny’s Green Gooseberry Pickles. B’ys Triple G-Ps are an option. At least in the interim. Thank you for reading.