Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Adirondack Park

You see things in upstate New York sometimes.

Things that you know your friends from other states would look at with curiosity:

Adirondack Park

Things that you're not sure if you should be offended by or not:

Adirondack Park

Things that make you scratch your head:

Adirondack Park

"Worms? Ice? Beer? You sure you don't want books? Because we also have books."

You see a lot of really pretty things, too, though.

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

The week before last I drove home to spend a week with my parents. I usually only go home at Thanksgiving, because summer is a busy time on campus, so I don't usually get to go to camp when I got home, since it's deep in the Adirondack Park, and that's not a place you want to drive to in heavy snow. Since I went home in summer, though, it was warm enough to go up to camp for a few days, something my parents do pretty much all the time since they are retired now.

Our camp is on Long Lake:

Adirondack Park

which I've always thought is the place where A Place in the Sun is set, but it turns out that's actually Loon Lake. Even more confusing, the actual murder that the story is based on took place on Big Moose Lake, but what it boils down to is that, while our camp is really pretty:

Adirondack Park

Montgomery Clift never drowned Shelly Winters on film there.

Still, it's peaceful and shockingly cold. I expected it to be a little cold, since we were in the mountains, but the second morning I was there it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

In summer.

I packed shorts and t-shirts, and a polo in case we went somewhere nice to eat.

It wasn't that bad, though. Mom turned on the fireplace and Dad let me borrow a pair of sweatpants to get my steps in. I got most of them walking the four mile round trip from camp to Buttermilk Falls:

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

and then in the three days when we were at camp we went all over the Adirondack Park: Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, and some other lakes I can't remember. We went to antique stores, general stores, candy stores, popcorn shops, and out to eat a few times, and one morning I also hiked the grounds of The Wild Center, including the Wild Walk:

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

which rises to a height of three stories off the ground and includes a giant bird's nest that you can climb into:

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

The rest of the grounds were really pretty, too:

Adirondack Park

and I encountered this statue that I thought was of a cat pooping, because I didn't see the rabbit out in front at first:

Adirondack Park

It was a nice trip, and I may think about doing it again.

If I do, I'll have to take more time, since I spent almost half of the trip in the car.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

All the Books I Read in May

Sometimes I have so many books on my "books I haven't read" pile (if we're being honest, "pile" is perhaps not the word to use; there are stacks of books under all three living room tables, some on top of the coffee table, and some additional books in stacks next to the coffee table) that I decide that for a month I will have a theme. My theme doesn't always apply to Kindle books, since I'm usually finishing one from the month before, but I can usually line it up fairly well with paper books. For May, my theme was "biographies and memoirs". Unfortunately, those are often slow reads, which means that my May total is a little low.

Before I could get to my memoirs, though, I had to finish the one Kindle book I read this month: Mike Bode's The Mirrored City, which picks up a few months after "The Queen of Lies" ended. Jessa, former princess and now empress, struggles to fight off a challenge to her own power while attempting to unite the city-states of her world. Heath, the assassin priest, tries to help her while also trying to cope with the changes to himself and his role that happened at the end of the last book, working with Maddox, the now-immortal archmage who used to be his lover, and Sword, the magic sentient blade who serves as his fighting companion. There are new characters, new dangers, and old threats from the past, plus the possible end of the world.

This was as entertaining as the last one, and I'm hoping for a third. As in the first book, there's a lot of world-building without clubbing you over the head with it, and the story behind the story that was hinted at in the end of the last book is a little more fleshed out in this one. I'm intrigued to see where it goes.

After I finished this book, I spent the rest of the month walking outside, rather than on the treadmill, so I didn't read another Kindle book.

The first biography I read was Gioia Diliberto's Diane von Furstenburg: A Life Unwrapped, which offers an interesting portrait of the fashion icon, delving into her mother's survival in the concentration camps, her childhood, her many marriages and lovers (and possible drug fueled orgies and bisexual flings), and the rise and fall and rise again of her business. DVF cooperated with this book, so it has a lot of personal information, but it also frequently drops casual stereotypes about Jewish people when it talks about her background, multiple times.

I guess it was interesting, but I didn't really take anything away from it other than that DVF had an interesting life. There's no advice for others or any really inspirational moments to think about later, so my overall feeling when I was done was mostly just, "I read this book, and it was a book."

I have really mixed feelings about the memoir that I read next.

Columbine is so iconic to Americans that we don't even call it "the Columbine high school shooting" or something like that. It has its own shorthand where we say the name of the town and the school shooting is the first thing people think of. It's the first school shooting that I remember getting major, around the clock media coverage. It's been exhaustively picked apart and analyzed in books, magazines, documentaries, and internet conspiracy theories, but in A Mother's Reckoning Sue Klebold reminds us that there's a side we haven't ever really heard: the families of the shooters. Who was Dylan Klebold? How did he grow up? Were there warning signs his parents missed, or did they see them and interpret them incorrectly? What's it like to receive a call at work that tells you your son murdered his classmates? How do you mourn him and mourn his victims at the same time? What happens to the rest of your life?

I found this compulsively readable. Sue Klebold comes across as honest and genuine, and shares her grief, anger, confusion, and what's she's learned as she struggles to carry on. She also points out that Columbine isn't just a story of murder and rage, but also a story about two boys who committed suicide. Could recognizing Dylan's suicidal depression have prevented what happened? Klebold doesn't make excuses, but she does point out as best she can the places where she could have done better.

I think it was very brave of her to come forward and finally tell her story this honestly and openly, because she lives a life that the rest of us can barely imagine: she's the mother of a mass murderer who has been savaged in the press and the courts of public opinion as a horrible parent who allowed this to happen, and she says over and over through the book that she would think the same thing about a mother if she saw this story on the news. There are some things she can't talk about, because of the many lawsuits that have been leveled against her family by those of the victims, but she also shares things that I never knew, like that she spent over a month after the shootings writing apology letters to each family, or that she is now a cancer survivor, or that she works for organizations promoting mental health and suicide awareness.

I don't know if I can say I enjoyed this book, but I did find it inspiring and sympathetic.

I wrapped up the month with Margo Jefferson's Negroland is part autobiography, part history lesson. What was it like to be an upper middle class African American before the progress of the civil rights era? Jefferson takes us inside a world of manners, social clubs, education, and the "right" neighborhoods as it slowly gives way to the world of power struggles and questioning whether she's turned her back on her culture to emulate whites. Along the way, she outlines heroes and heroines and cultural milestones that still inform behavior and attitudes today, and she doesn't shy away from discussions of race that may be uncomfortable for the reader.

This was a slow read, like the DVF book, but it was interesting.

I'm sticking with a theme for June, too. It's Gay Pride month, so I'm reading books with LGBTQ+ content.

It will hopefully be interesting.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Exotic KitKats of Japan

Recently a friend was leaving for a trip to Japan, and I begged for souvenirs.

Very specific souvenirs.

"Bring me the exotic KitKats that I see in Buzzfeed posts! I want to eat the Green Tea KitKats!"

"You can buy those in Knoxville."


"Go buy the Green Tea ones at Sunrise Grocery or Lucky Mart by the mall."


Things have been a little busy at work, so it took me a week or so to get over to Sunrise Grocery. Once there, I paced the candy aisle, but there were no Green Tea KitKats. I checked all of the racks by the registers, but there were no Green Tea KitKats there, either. I whined to friends in our ongoing "Brunch Scheduling and Other Chatter" months-long group text that I couldn't find the Green Tea KitKats, and then, just as I was about to leave, I decided to walk all of the aisles, and found the Green Tea KitKats exactly where you would think to look for candy.

In the produce section.

I can be excused for missing them, at first, because they weren't individually packaged like I thought they'd be. Instead, the Green Tea KitKats at Sunrise Grocery come in a big bag:

Japanese KitKats 2

that fortunately has an English ingredients label stuck to the back, so I could make sure I wasn't eating anything I was allergic to.

Japanese KitKats 3

Sunrise Grocery was adventure enough. (Seriously, I might go back for the herb-flavored gelatin cups, because I'm so curious about them.) I didn't also want a trip to the emergency room. I did decide that I might as well also grab the Raspberry KitKats, because why not? They might also be exciting.

Japanese KitKats 1

Once I got the KitKats home, I tore open the bag

Japanese KitKats 5

and then tore open a Green Tea KitKat:

Japanese KitKats 6

I didn't buy any American KitKats for comparison, but I think that's about the same size as a snack sized KitKat that you get in the bags of Halloween candy. It might be slightly smaller, but again, that's a guess, not a definite. I was immediately dismayed to see that they appeared to be made of white chocolate, a vile waxen imitation of real chocolate, but excited to see that they're definitely green.

In the interests of science, I bit one:

Japanese KitKats 7

and I was immediately disappointed.

They taste like a regular white chocolate KitKat. I drink green tea fairly often, and I didn't get even a hint of it from these. I ate another just to be sure, and still didn't taste anything but white chocolate and KitKat wafers.

Dreams crushed, I turned my attention to the Raspberry KitKats, which were similar to the Green Tea KitKats in appearance:

Japanese KitKats 8

but also had noticeable differences: as soon as I opened the wrapper, this smelled strongly of raspberries. Granted, it was a little bit of an artificial raspberry candy raspberry smell, but it was way better than the Green Tea KitKats, which smell only of foul white chocolate.

Intrigued and hopeful, I bit one:

Japanese KitKats 9

These are so good. I can't believe they don't make this flavor in the United States, because it would sell heavily if they could convince people to try it the first time. It might be hard to tell in the picture, but instead of regular KitKat filling, which is actually made of other KitKats ("Soylent Green is people! It's people!"), they are filled with some kind of raspberry jelly or puree and it's so good that my mouth is watering right now just thinking about them even though I just ate one.

I might take the Green Tea ones to work and dump them in my candy dish there. Maybe someone will like them.

Then I might go to the Lucky Mart, and see if they have flavors that Sunrise Grocery didn't.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ten Dollar Biscuit

Yesterday I spent ten dollars on half a biscuit, and also a cracker. Would you like to see what a ten dollar biscuit half, with a side of cracker, looks like?

Biscuit Fest 2016 4

That biscuit was prepared by the staff of Kroger, and was decent. It had apple jelly on top with a slice of Manchego cheese, and the parmesan crisp alongside it was topped with a dot of honey and a slice of goat cheese. It made a nice, tasty couple of bites, but it was not worth ten dollars. For ten dollars, I could have purchased all of the components at Kroger myself and assembled more than one plate.

I spent ten dollars because I went to The International Biscuit Festival, which used to be fun but is now terrible. I've been to Biscuit Fest several times, and each time the general idea is the same: it's next to the Farmer's Market:

Biscuit Fest 2016 2

in a kind of small, already crowded area. You pay ten dollars for a ticket, which lets you taste five biscuits and then vote on one:

Biscuit Fest 2016 6

and yesterday was the first time in the several years that I have attended the Biscuit Festival that I did not vote on a favorite.

I didn't feel like I should when I was only able to taste one biscuit.

The biscuit tasting opened at 9 AM. In past years, as Biscuit Fest has slowly become more crowded, 9 AM has been a terrible crush of people and fighting to taste any biscuit. While tasting was still possible, it was annoying, so this year I decided to get there between 10 and 11 AM. This was also a horrible mistake, because all of the people that started tasting at 9 AM were still there, trying to taste biscuits. They were all in line:

Biscuit Fest 2016 5

Lines that stretched for over a block, per booth. The average line, based on talking to people waiting in four of them, was taking 45 minutes to an hour. Granted, it was Saturday and I didn't really have any plans, but that didn't mean I wanted to wait in line for five hours to eat five biscuits. I might not have gotten five, anyway. By the time I got there, some of the vendors had already run out of biscuits, which meant even more people clustering into the smaller number of remaining lines. I only got the one biscuit I did get to taste because I ran into a friend who told me there was a booth past one of the lines and around a corner, and most people hadn't fought through the crowds far enough to find it.

The sad truth is that the Biscuit Festival has outgrown its present location. When I went in 2013 you could walk up and down the rows. You could talk to people. You weren't at risk of being trampled by crowds or ground to death beneath the wheels of a doublewide baby stroller. This is no longer the case. The Biscuit Festival is now a nightmarish hellscape of crowds, shoving, and the smell of flour, with long lines and the claustrophobic crush of too many people jammed into narrow streets.

Biscuit Fest 2016 6

I won't go again if it doesn't change, and that saddens me, because I love living in a city with festivals and a food scene and fun.

I just don't love crowds.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

All the Books I Read in April

I noticed at the end of this month that I've read quite a bit less this year than I did last year, and wasn't sure why until I realized that my parents didn't come visit this spring. Usually when they come down we are sequestered in a cabin with limited internet, and I read a ton of books because when we're not out doing something we're mostly just hanging out around the cabin doing nothing. Without that week off, I'm behind where I was last year, but I'm hopeful that I can catch up by the end of the year.

While we wait until January 1 to find out if I'm right, let's look at what I read in April:

1) Carol Clover's Men, Women, and Chainsaws was a very interesting, but very dense, read. I really enjoyed this exploration of gender identity and depiction in horror movies, but it was very slow reading, and a few times I had to look up words to know what she was talking about, so I guess it was also intellectually challenging. It was almost like reading a textbook, but it still managed to be at least a little fun, and Clover's genuine appreciation of these types of movies shines through even when her language is really dry.

The only drawback I have is that she could have used some additional examples sometimes. She used one particular scene in Videodrome as an example in every chapter, sometimes multiple times in a chapter. Even if that one scene is evidence that every single one of her arguments is correct, surely there are others that also prove them. I do sort of want to see that movie, though, except that James Woods is in it and I've never really liked him much.

2) In Christopher Golden's Dead Ringers, your friends are not what they seem, and neither are you. Tess calls her ex-husband, Nick, to yell at him for ignoring her when they bumped into each other on the sidewalk, but Nick is out of town. Frank is attacked in his home and chained up in the basement by a man with his face, a man who starts wearing Frank's clothes and going to Frank's job. Tess' best friend is suddenly mistaken for a hot new artist, because the artist looks exactly like her. Who are these doppelgangers, and how are they linked to Tess and her friends? And are they the real danger, or is it the blind homeless man with the coat full of shadows who is stalking them across the city of Boston?

This starts out a little slow, gets a little creepy, but then kind of fizzles back to being a little slow. It also featured what was probably intended to be a shocking twist ending, but by that point I was kind of like, "Oh, wait. When did that happen?" and then couldn't be bothered to turn back a few pages to see what I missed.

3) I ordered The Queen of Lies for my Kindle because my friend Mike wrote it and I wanted to be supportive, and I'm glad I did because I also enjoyed it. A detailed fantasy novel starring a failed alcoholic mage, an assassin priest, a princess, and a cast of other characters, it accomplishes a lot of world-building without being boring. I was a little surprised by the sudden hot gay sex in the middle (mostly because I was on the treadmill at the fitness center and was like, "Holy shit, can the girl next to me see my Kindle from her treadmill?"), but it was also nice to have that show up in a fantasy novel that wasn't marketed as a "queer lit" book. There was also some straight people sex, too, if that's what you're looking for, but it was pretty entertaining regardless of the sex, too, in case that's not what you're looking for.

I guess I'm just saying, "This was good, I liked it, but maybe don't read it where people can see what you're reading in a couple of parts."

4) Sam Munson's The War Against the Assholes introduces Mike Wood, a not especially smart football playing Catholic school student with a clearly defined moral code. When a classmate he never speaks to gives him a small book of card tricks, Wood finds himself drawn into a clandestine world of magic, with tricks, secret meeting rooms, and amazing feats. He also discovers that there is a formal school of magic, training young wizards. Unfortunately the formal school is also part of a war to wipe out the unschooled magicians, the side that Wood has found himself on, and he finds himself drawn into a war against the assholes and their rules.

The further I get from finishing this book, the less I like it. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't really all that great, either. More than anything, it felt kind of incomplete. Characters are never really fleshed out, so their actions don't always make sense. Major events happen without being shown, and the author spends way more time telling us how horrible the bad guys are than actually showing it, so they don't really carry any sense of menace.

5) Adam Christopher's Made to Kill takes us to mid-1960's LA, at a time when the great experiment of robots performing menial labor has come and gone. Humans distrusted the metal men, and they were all phased out of existence except for Raymond Electromatic and Ada, the giant computer that monitors and maintains him. As the last robot on earth, Raymond supports himself and Ada as a licensed private detective, and also as a hit man, two worlds that collide when a young woman with dark eyes and a bag full of gold bars steps into his office. She wants Raymond to find and dispose of an actor, but someone else also wants Raymond to dispose of her. Can he unravel the knot of who she is and what she wants as he pursues her through shady meetings at Hollywood nightclubs, Russian mobsters, radioactive movie stars, and a diabolical plan that may destroy Raymond as well?

This was an interesting blend of crime noir and science fiction, but it didn't always seem to hang together. Still, I enjoyed it enough to think about picking up the eventual sequels that I assume are coming, since Amazon says it's a trilogy.

6) Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts was creepy and disturbing, and a very good read.

Merry is eight years old, and her family is in trouble. Her father was laid off after two decades working a factory job, and is slowly becoming devoutly, obsessively religious as her skeptic mother tries to support the family of four on a bank teller's salary. Meanwhile, Merry's sister, Marjorie, starts to exhibit strange behavior: hearing voices, telling stories, acting out, and then spiraling into bizarre physical behavior. When medical treatment can't help her, Marjorie's father and his priest reach a disturbing conclusion: Marjorie is possessed, and must be exorcised. As bad as that sounds, there's a possible opportunity for the family to pull themselves out of their disastrous financial situation while still helping Marjorie. Fifteen years later, Rachel, a bestselling author, is interviewing Merry. Rachel wants to write a book about "The Possessed", the six episode reality show that Merry's family starred in. She wants to explore what happened to Marjorie, what happened to the family, and how Merry ended up as the only survivor.

I really liked that this book was unclear about a lot of things, even whether or not the ending really happened the way Merry remembers it. Tremblay uses his unreliable narrator, Merry, in the best possible way, leaving the reader with an unsettling story of a family in some sort of crisis, but maybe not the kind that it seems like they're in.

Coming up in May: All biographies and memoirs! Hopefully I'll be able to read them faster than I normally do.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

They said it was "refreshing"

Ever since I embarked on my adventures in gelatin cooking my friends have reacted in two ways:

1) They try to help, by sending Jello molds, giving me other Jello cookbooks they've found, and linking to articles about it online. My mom is even planning a day trip to The Jello Museum when I'm in New York in June.

2) They scorn. It's understandable. Some of the Jello recipes are not delicious, and worthy of scorn.

It was in the mixed spirit of helpfulness and scorn together that two of my friends have shared this Buzzfeed post of vintage recipes with me in the last two weeks. I read it and laughed, until I realized that I've made number 18. I didn't ever come back here to tell people what happened to the Velveeta Fudge after I made it and took it to the office, because I wanted to preserve the Christmas miracle of actually making fudge that was suitable for giving to other people, but now that Christmas is over I can tell the horrible truth:

The Velveeta fudge disintegrated.

That's not even the best word for it. That kind of makes you think of a dry, crumble into dust, but what happened to the fudge was so much... oily-er. We were keeping the Velveeta fudge in the office fridge when no one was eating it, because it was made from cheese-like food, and we didn't think it should sit out. Despite that, it started to get oily. Then it started to get oily and somehow spongy at the same time, as if the oil was draining out of it, slowly weakening the substance of the fudge. Eventually, the fudge seemed on the verge of dissolving entirely, and I threw it away.

Let's never speak of it again.

I made fudge at Christmas and everything was fine.

Anyway, realizing that I'd already started down this 24 step pathway to culinary hell, I wondered what else I could make, and landed on #6: 7UP Milk.

This sounded disgusting, but maybe things tasted differently whenever this was published. After all, 7UP has changed a little, and way more people drink skim milk now than whole milk that the milkman brings in bottles and leaves on the doorstep, but I decided to give it a try. To be as authentic as possible, I got whole milk, and non-diet 7UP. I looked for throwback 7UP, or 7UP from Mexico, since either of those would be made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, but had no luck locating it. I found Sprite, but again, I was trying for authenticity, so I did the best I could.

7up and milk 1

The recipe said to use equal parts milk and 7UP, and to pour the 7UP into the milk without stirring, so I did.

7up and milk 2

It still looked and smelled like milk, but I noticed something a little odd when I picked up the glass to smell it: none of the bubbles on top moved. They had transformed into semi-solid milk foam.

7up and milk 3

Maybe it still tastes ok, I thought. The recipe says it's refreshing.

It's not refreshing. Have you ever wanted your milk to somehow be thick yet fizzy at the same time? I swallowed the first sip, just to get the full taste.

It tastes like milk that's right on the verge of turning sour.

I took a second slip, and realized what it tasted like while it was still in my mouth.

I immediately spit it into the sink and poured out the rest.

I do not feel refreshed.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Gallon of Pickles

I've been eating a gallon of pickles for the entire month of April.

I didn't lose a bet or enter a competitive eating contest. This has nothing to do with Lent. I've been eating a gallon of pickles because I made them, and I made a gallon of pickles because I halved a recipe that would have made two gallons.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned before, after the Asheville Half Marathon Bernadette and I didn't want to go back to our room and lay down, because we were (probably rightly) afraid that our limbs would immediately contract and stiffen, and we might never walk again without terrible pains, like the Little Mermaid in the original version of that story. We couldn't rent bikes, because "it's not bicycle season" at the Biltmore in March (to everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn... including bicycles), so we drove to Mount Mitchell and climbed it.

Mount Mitchell 2

More correctly, we climbed about ten minutes of it. We drove the rest of the way, because we'd just completed a half marathon. Still, we made it to the top, where we faced views that were extremely similar to the ones I saw last time I climbed a mountain after a half marathon:

Mount Mitchell 1

Mount Mitchell 3

Mount Mitchell 4

Mount Mitchell 6

Breathtaking, right?

Views aside, though, we did learn that there's a mountain called Big Butt:

Big Butt

"Hey, Sir Mixalot, what's your favorite mountain?"

"Son, I like Big Butt, and I cannot lie."

We then climbed back down the mountain and returned to the hotel with the kind of appetite normally reserved for Hungry Hungry Hippos, and headed to the nearest restaurant we could walk to that might have gluten free menu options. Arriving at Cedric's Tavern, which is named after the Vanderbilts' dog:

Biltmore Estate 2

we got a table, got a drink, ordered, and prayed that food would arrive before we had to eat another patron just to survive the night.

"Hey," our server asked, "Would you guys like some pickles?"

At that particular moment in time, I might have eaten an orange if someone offered me one.

"Sure!" seemed so much more polite than "OH, GOD, PLEASE PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH."

He appeared moments later with a mason jar full of pickle spears, which Bernadette eyed dubiously.

"They smell like dill. Are they dill?"

"Let me try one."

They weren't dill.

"Are they dill?"

"They're like a cross between bread and butter and dill? Sort of sweet, but there's a hint of dill, and something else?"

"Ooooh, let me try."

Three minutes later our waiter brought us a second jar of pickle spears. Five minutes later, he brought the recipe with the third jar of pickle spears and an order of deviled eggs, which I also inhaled.

Pickle recipe

I have no memory of my dinner (possibly a sandwich?) but days later I was still thinking about those pickles, so I decided to make some.

Finding and washing pickling cucumbers was the easy part:


Sourcing juniper berries in Knoxville, on the other hand, was a nightmare. I ended up finding them in the spice section at Whole Foods, and now I can never have children, because if I did they might want to go to college someday and I can't afford to send them there since I spent their college fund on juniper berries at Whole Foods. Still, I found them, and convinced myself to buy them, and then I filled a gallon jar with cucumbers, onions, spices, and expensive juniper berries from Whole Foods:

Cucumbers (2)

And then I poured the brine over it.

The recipe said I had to wait 24 hours before eating them. It really should say 48 hours, because they've gotten better and better the longer they've sat in the refrigerator. The recipe also said that they would only keep in the refrigerator for a month, so all of April has been a race against time, and a series of dinners that look like this:

Sandwich and pickles

These pickles are so good, but there are so many of them. I keep eating them and eating them, but there are still somehow pickles left in the jar. This many pickles:

Pickle jar

Now, it's the end of the month, and I can't eat the rest of the gallon of pickles, because the recipe says not to and I don't want to die.

But they're so delicious that death by pickles might not be a horrible way to go.