Here’s the bitter truth, that is, the unpopular stance about the world's favorite fermented food: pickles are evil. Quite simply, I believe they embody everything bad in the world. In fact, pickles are the culinary representation of sin, wickedness, and death. Really. You might think I’m kidding, but this is super serious. Let me explain.
It all starts with a cucumber. This is the picture of perfect health: water-filled, crisp, and fresh. A cucumber is both lively and lovely. In our house, we go through dozens of them every week – they’re my kids’ favorite vegetable, and for good reason! Their subtle flavor goes well with virtually everything: sandwiches, salads, veggie platters – they even manage to freshen up a pitcher of water. Cucumbers are like people in perfect harmony with God: pure, full of life, always fresh, experiencing mercies that are “new every morning" (Lam 3:23).
However, as we all know, the blissful life in the garden of Eden didn’t last forever. Tragically, pickles entered the world. They ruin everything, don’t they? Picnics, coleslaw, hamburgers, and cheese platters. Does anyone actually enjoy the taste of relish? The pickling process sucks the life out of their flawless predecessors. The rich, dark green cuke turns into a sickly jaundiced pickle, soaking in its smelly jar of bitterness. It’s shriveled and bitter. Nothing can grow in vinegar; death permeates the pickle.
When we’re “in a pickle,” is it ever a good situation? Of course not. It’s always very, very bad. Just as Adam and Eve fell in the garden of Eden, so too is the life sucked out of God’s most perfect plant. Pickling is “The Fall” in the vegetable world. Like pickles, we become acidic and sterile. Nothing grows on us – we’re completely devoid of the fruit of the Spirit. Just as a little sin can spoil a whole nation, a little vinegar can ferment a whole crate of cucumbers. Cucumbers are in constant use, and they’re kept in the front of the crisper; pickles, however, sit on the back shelf, all grumpy and sour.
Oh, that awful jar of death. It stares at me when I open the fridge door! I stare back the same way I’d look at a leech. Pickles lurk like the Devil prowls. They tempt other people, but not me. No siree. I see how ugly they truly are. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in the house with any sense! Now I know how Jeremiah felt preaching to the wayward people of Israel. Alas, I’ve become the weeping prophet! “Cast away your pickles, you foolish people! Can’t you see how they pollute your lunch?!” Just the smell makes me cringe, like a gangrenous toe or a skunk-sprayed dog.
Is a pickle even a food? Is there any nutritional value to them at all? Extensive medical research has led me to conclude that pickles about as healthy as eating formaldehyde popsicles. Their only purpose is to remind us how awful they are, in the same way as our forays into our old sinful lives quickly send us scrambling back to the Light, weeping and repentant.
You may not think the Bible has anything to say on the matter, but if you look closely at the original Hebrew and Greek, you’ll see how terrible they really are. The Hebrew word for “pickle” is ych, pronounced “yuck,” the same sound you make when you eat something yucky. The Greek equivalent is ΓΡΟΣ, pronounced “gröe-ss,” which is what you say when you eat something gross. These words, and others, are often mistranslated throughout the Bible, as we can clearly see:
Lot’s wife was dealt the ultimate punishment when she looked back at the destruction of Sodom: “But his wife, from behind him, looked, and she became a [giant pickle]” (Gen 19:26). I can’t imagine a worse fate.
Jeremiah warned Israel about the generational curse of sin, embodied in the eating of pickles: “The fathers have eaten [pickled cukes] and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Jer 31:29). No kidding!
God denounced all fermented vegetables to the church in Laodicea: “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot [like a jalepeño] nor cool [like a cucumber], I’ll spit you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:16). Good call, God. Good call.
Not even Jesus would allow such filth past his lips! “They gave him wine to drink mixed with [pickle juice], but after tasting it, he wouldn’t drink any” (Mt 27:34). Jesus was the only person who managed to keep himself undefiled by sin and pickles (which are basically the same thing).
Clearly, the Bible condemns eating, producing, or otherwise handling such an unclean food. And yet some may argue, "Come on, you're being ridiculous. Pickles are just a food!" Yeah? Well, the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 3) was "just a food" too, and look where that got us.
Anyway, that’s why pickles are evil. They’re basically the Devil’s food.
Oh yeah, and they taste bad too.