Hero of the relish tray

I was talking to a friend the other day about Thanksgiving and he asked what my favorite part of the dinner was. I didn't even have to think. I knew immediately.

The gherkin pickles.

I know! The weird, pimply relish tray outcasts that I'm sure in 90% of American households in which they appear end up in the compost pile once the table is cleared. But I love the little devils and only eat them twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Usually, I eat one right off. First thing, I chomp down on the cold, sweet crispness leaving only the tiny tail end where the stem is (which, I'm sure, is also edible, but whatever — this is my fetish and I'll do it my way). Then, as I progress through the dinner, I try and get the perfect ratio of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (call it what you want, my people say "stuffing"), and gravy on my fork and into my mouth so I can top it off with a bite off a sweet lil' gherkin. Mmm...perfection.

So crunchy. So sweet.

The first Thanksgiving I had with my wife's family, there were no gherkins and it was deeply disappointing and I try not to think about it. Next year, they were there in a lovely little crystal three-part dish but I have no idea what was in the other two parts. They could all be filled with gherkins, as far as I'm concerned. So yes, my mother-in-law does buy these tiny pickled pieces of perfection solely for my benefit and I'm deeply grateful.

This Thanksgiving, give the lowly gherkin some respect. Or leave them for me, even better.