In a Pickle

This originally appeared in a slightly different form on the now defunct (RIP) food blog, Root (Underground Food)


During the cruel winter of 1812, at an abandoned medical college in Lithuania, some of Napoleon’s starving soldiers dined on preserved human organs.

The French had lingered in Moscow until November of that year - a critical error. Half a million troops quickly dwindled to less than 40,000 along the frigid 900 kilometer return route. Those who remained were crazed with malnutrition and exhaustion and disease.

By the time they lurched into Vilnius, the alcohol-soaked human offal bobbing in jars must have looked like a banquet. A trick of the protein-deprived mind.

So shut up already about how bad the weather is, because I’m pretty sure you’re not ghoulishly gnawing on people parts while you browse your Netflix queue. (Pretty sure.)

In the cold dark months where soft comfort foods rule the day, it’s good to have something piquant and crunchy to reawaken the winter weary palate. Quick pickles are a fast and easy way to accomplish this.

Spicy Bok Choy Quick Pickles

  • 3 or 4 small bok choy (I used a curly variety, but any will do)

  • Salt

  • Chili flakes or fresh chilis diced fine

  • Rice wine vinegar

~ Wash bok choy and cut into quarters

~ Place a single layer of bok choy into a specimen jar procured from an historic Eastern European medical college, cover it with a fairly generous amount of salt and chili to taste; repeat until you run out of bok choy

~ Put just a tablespoon or so of rice wine vinegar over the top; seal the lid on the jar and shake a bit to ensure everything is well combined

~ Refrigerate, pack into glass jars (preferably not the ones used to house medical specimens)