Since Kona and txrad are so fond of pickles I decided to pick up the best pickles I could find. One of my friends keeps bragging about her mother's cooking, and her colleagues back up the claim. So I took her to task and asked for a couple of her mother's best homemade pickles. She came through with a jar of mango pickles and a jar of lemon pickles; though she warned me that if I didn't eat the lemon pickles she'd kill me on account of her liking them so much herself.
On the way out of the New Dehli (Indira Ghandi) airport the security guards go through a very strict search. When they came across my pickles they were intrigued. It wasn't so much that I had funky food or that I was carrying pickles on board; but, rather, that the lemon pickles came in a pickled garlic jar. He was clearly aware of what they were and so was confused about the jar's label. He opened he jar and smelled the contents. After raising his eyebrows in appreciation of the smell, he closed the lid and put them back in my carryon bag. Then he let me pass.
We landed first in the US via Chicago (O'Hare), which is where I had the worst ever customs experience anywhere in the world - long story for some other time. Anyway, the xray machine for my connecting flight tagged this jar in my luggage. So the guard pulled it out and started questioning me about it. I told him that they were special pickles you couldn't buy in the US. That didn't impress him so I made up a story about how my mother-in-law made them for my wife. The sob story went on about her not being able to get the pickles in the US for years and that I was carrying them back as a special favor. Eventually he called over the shift boss, who had the pickles analyzed. They wiped the jar down with some cloths and ran the cloths through a chemical analyzer. The test gave them nothing, so they decided to bring over the vapor analyzer kit. That's when the guard opened the jar and made a screwed up face like he'd just been rubbed in the face with a skunk butt. Needless to say, they hurried through the vapor analysis as quickly as possible. After still finding nothing the let me through with the pickles. I bid them a nice day and was on my way home still clutching two precious jars of homemade pickles.
Thus far I've only had the chance to try the lemon pickles. They were truly awesome with some flat bread. Soan's mother had a fine showing with these little gems. They're sour and salty with just the right blend of spices to have a heavenly aroma. Its definitely food for the soul, at least for those of us with a taste for the pungent. Oddly enough, Hirono's mother liked them as well. She never likes spicy food and has a delicate stomach; but, she loved these little babies. They are slightly reminiscent of umeboshi, japanese pickled plums, so I guess it isn't too odd that she'd like them.
Kona and txrad, I had originally contemplated shipping these jars over to you after tasting them. Now that I've tried the lemon pickles I'm keeping them. If you want to try these bad boys you'll have to get your lazy butts to the SF Bay Area. Come on over, you'll at least have a home base to stay in for free while exploring the SF environs (I'm about 60 minutes away from SF by car, 90 min by train.) And you'll get to meet two of the most beautiful babies in the world. I promise to keep at least half a jar of each pickle for 6 months from today. After that, they're history.