I mentioned below how I loved the pickles curated by David Chang of Momofuku. The ones with which I decorate a rice bowl at the Ssam Bar tickle me green. But I forgot to mention how divine the seasonal pickles at Momofuku Noodle Bar are. Chang chooses to dip carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, mushrooms, and other unsuspecting veggies in vinegar, and his chefs plate them to create a beautiful cornucopia.
As I just praised a pickle purveyor, karma has it I must now slam one. I choose to slam Rick Fields, who created Rick's Picks, which he peddles at the Union Square Greenmarket. Rick may look like a Lower East Side hipster-cum-Catskills organic farmer, but folks, he was a TV producer and went to Yale.
I went there too, which is how I know; I first learned of Rick not in the Dining Section of The New York Times, where he has indeed been mentioned, but in the Yale Alumni Magazine, which ran a "Where They Are Now" column about him in a 2005 issue.
Since in 2005 I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket each day on my way to work, I decided to meet Mr. Fields. I introduced myself and said I read about him in the Alumni Magazine. He grunted. I think he looked away.
Oh, I see: your affiliation with the Ivy League doesn't quite go with your residence on a street corner in downtown Manhattan. Ruins your cred, does it? Ruins your customer service, more like it.
I inherited my passion for pickles. Recently my mother took my cousin and me to a swank lunch on the Lower East Side, and perhaps to balance her karma, she followed the tony lunch with a stop at the corner pickle-barker, who hawked pickles out of big barrels on the street. The lusty woman purveyor fished dills and sours from the briny broth and poured them into plastic containers. It all felt very Jewish Lower East Side circa 1918. My mother waxed nostalgic about buying all her underwear at Goldbergs, back in the day.
Underwear: yes, I need underwear, thought Mother. To my and my cousin's absolute mortification, my mother asked the large, lusty pickle purveyor about where, around here, she could buy panties.
If I could think of a living soul I would be less inclined to ask about undies, it would be the lusty pickle purveyor.