Pickles! This green delight’s flavor has been called sour, salty, tangy, and sweet in some cases. People across the world like to use these bad boys and throw them in their dish for that extra kick of flavor that tends to charge one’s tastebuds. However, did you know that pickles have a very long-standing history that ranges from a beauty product to high-price demand all the way to helping build a food empire? Here is some interesting food for thought facts to chew on for Nation Pickle Day.
Older Than Dirt
Pickles have been used for consumption for quite some time but some evidence has shown that these edible items have been around longer than the average person would think. There has been a bit of disagreement on the exact date but many believe that the first pickle was created Mesopotamia in 2400 B.C.E. Other data has shown that the date goes back as far as 2030 B.C.E. This is just the first step in a long line of landmarks that the pickle will leave behind.
Royal Beauty Product
Cleopatra VII Philopator--or just Cleopatra--is considered one of the most beautiful women in the history of the world. Many civilizations have fought and fallen in hopes to court this ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt back in the later B.C. days. Though this Pharoah was known to have a high level of intelligence with speaking many languages, educated in mathematics, philosophy, and oratory, her looks were believed to be of a mythical proportion. The Pharoah had claimed that pickles in her diet were the key to her beauty. Although, it might’ve been good genes as well.
A Statesman’s Fascination
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military leader that led many successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. Raising to the level of Emperor of the French for a decade, this figure in history took control of European and global affairs. Even though he held great power, the guy couldn’t resist the power of the pickle. Napoleon sought out a way to pickle and preserve food for his troops. Bonaparte put up the equivalent of $250,000 as a prize to whoever could figure out the best way to accomplish such a task.
Finding A Mate
The brine filled treat is greatly enjoyed with a meal alone or with friends and family. Yet, natives of the Pacific Islands take it a bit further than a source of nutrients. They view pickles as a valuable item that it has become part of the courting process. The eatable specialty is a sign that conveys the message of a man that proves he'll be able to provide for a woman. To help push doubt out of the minds of the soon to be in-laws, the husband-to-be must impress the parents with his pickle pits. The next time you take a bite into a pickle, you might hear wedding bells instead of that familiar crunchy sound.
Pickles are common with condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise in most household kitchens. In 1893 it was H.J Heinz of Heinz Ketchup that had a great idea to spread the word of pickles in being in everyone’s home. During the Chicago World’s Fair, H.J Heinz--also known as the “Pickle King”--dispatched a few locals to tempt fairgoers with a “free gift” if they visited Heinz’s out-of-the-way booth and tasted his wares. By the time the fair had ended, Heinz had given out close to 1 million “pickle pins”.
This marketing gambit is considered one of the most successful events in U.S. history. The Heinz company continued the pickle pin promotion--say that three times fast--at the World’s Fair in 1896, 1898, and 1939. Don’t worry if you feel like you’ve missed out. You can still purchase Heinz’s dark-green pickle pins, as well as the ketchup pin and the golden pickle pin online.
This information is just a drop of brine in the large wooden barrel of pickle history. Today, there are over a thousand ways to prepare pickled cucumber food to eat and will continue to grow. Whether you decided to put a few slices on your hamburger, dice one up into your potato salad, or eat straight from the mason jar, just remember that there is a lot of backstories that pickles carry.