I let the two oldest piggies stay up late last night. Not to eat cake or to watch a movie or anything. No, I just needed help making pickles.
Start to finish it was a pretty magical experience. Daddy was out so I had the piglets undivided love and attention. It was an artful night, filled with a dream-like sequence of teaching moments.
While I had tried to grow pickling cucumbers this summer I was completely unsuccessful. Not even sprouts from the seeds. But at Sunday's farmer market I came across some giant beauties that were just screaming for vinegar and spices. "Twenty-five cents a piece or five for a dollar". I took fifteen. For a total for three dollars spent, I was pretty sure I had beaten the (pickle) system.
Then I had to buy the spices.
Black mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds, allspice berries, dill seeds, cloves, red chilies, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, bay leaves, black peppercorns, whole coriander seeds and cardamom pods. Oh, and how about 1/2 of one star anise pod - just because it's SO cheap! (Not.)
Three dollars in pickles. Sixty-five dollars in spices.
But just look at that star anise. Magic! I didn't know anything about some of these spices before last night but I'm happy to say I do now. And so do the piggies. We had so much fun smelling each one of them and talking about what images their scents conjured up for us. I only wish I could have bottled the crisp, clean smell of the dill mixed with all those spices and share it with you. But instead, I will just have to leave you with this: