At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


There were three of us in the parking lot after the tobacco store closed.
Three pairs of spectacles. Three pipes. And about fifteen different subjects that we were discussing.
But I remember two things in particular.

One of them was Indian style pickles.


Indian pickles are made with salt and oil. The simplest pickles are the ones made from sour citrus or green mango, and you may have tried them at one point. If it’s not what you’re used to, the taste can be daunting. Salty. Strong flavoured. Hot. And oily.

Lime or lemon is cut into chunks, salted, left to air and lose moisture for a few days, then mixed with hot chili powder, turmeric, and other spices, after which it is covered in mustard oil to age and ‘mellow’.
The salt will have penetrated the rind, softening it and making it toothsome. The hot chili powder will fight the sourness and the salt for top billing. The turmeric helps keep it from ever going bad.
A good nimboo achar lasts longer than an Egyptian mummy.

Achar is also made from green mangoes, cauliflower, carrots, beets, turnips, ber fruit, and various other vegetable substances. Some are more perishable than others, but they are all exciting.

All of this is mentioned merely to interest you in the subject. Go out and buy a jar of green mango pickle.
If you enjoy it with your curry, you can thank me for introducing you to the substance.
On the other hand, if you dislike it intensely, don’t blame me.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. Not a clue.
And I wasn’t trying to corrupt you at all.
Whatever gave you that idea?

While we talked, a large furry eggplant calmly ambled past.  No haste, no circumspectness. The animal was aware of us, but considered us unthreatening entirely.
It headed toward the back door of the store.

One of us speculated that the raccoon wanted to acquire some cigars. Obviously, having no pockets whatsoever in which to keep coins or a credit card, it couldn’t very well go in and purchase them like a normal customer.
Entirely aside from which the only financial company even likely to give a raccoon a credit card is Discover – they’ll extend plastic to darn-near anyone – and the tobacco store only accepts Amex, MC, and Visa.
Raccoons are clever at picking locks. They’re like San Francisco landlords that way.
We assume that Brian doesn't notice when a corona goes missing in the night.

After a little while the humans got into vehicles and headed back to the city.
The raccoon had the parking lot to himself the rest of the night.
Which was probably exactly what he wanted.
He seemed like rather a quiet sort.
Not interested in pickles.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



  • At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Truly, the mango pickle is the second worth thing Ive ever put in my mouth. The first perhaps was that spot welder from Detroit. Dirk...I think his name was. Shudder.

  • At 8:04 PM, Blogger Jane said…

    Spectacular. I liked the way you began this.

  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    To anonymous: the concept is staggering.

    The mental image and attendant imaginings even more so.

    I am not a spotwelder.

    I feel I should emphasize that.

  • At 10:52 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…


    There were three men.
    An honest attorney, a rabbi, and Santa.......

  • At 11:03 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Actually, mango achar tastes somewhat like green olives.

    With oil. And extra salt.

    And an excess of cayenne.

    And NO spotwelder!


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