What’s the problem with the pickle?


Avi Joshi ’26 is a prospective English major and Education minor. He is an active member of Metal Club and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He loves to play the drums. Contact him at asjoshi@wm.edu.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

A good chicken sandwich needs four things to be perfect. One: Soft but toasted buns, like clouds with texture. Two: A relatively medium-sized piece of crispy fried chicken. Three: A sauce of the consumer’s choice. And four: some crisp, salty pickles. 

Yes, I keep the pickles on my chicken sandwiches. “Oh my!” you exclaim, “You must be some kind of adult who isn’t a five year old.” Yes, I am an adult, and I like pickles. It is not hard to like them either. Dill pickles, pickled onions, pickled mango, etc. are all absolutely delicious. I have never truly understood why people do not want pickles on their chicken sandwiches. It is not that I am mad at these people, but rather I just question their decision aggressively. 

Let’s start with the positives of pickles, of which there are many. The most important thing about pickles is moderation. They are obviously not the star of the dish; they are more like the finishing touch. Pickled onions are perfect on tacos, pickled cabbage is great in salads and good ol’ pickles are essential on a fried chicken sandwich. They offer a different kind of crisp from the skin of the chicken. The flavor they provide to the sandwich is complex and unique. Yes, it is polarizing and can be harsh. However, it is exactly what the sandwich needs. Usually, fried chicken sandwiches are heavy and greasy — it sort of comes with the territory — so having a few pickles to cut through that grease and add some bright flavor makes the fried chicken sandwich a true culinary masterpiece.

I ask again: what is the problem with pickles? I think the main reason why pickles receive so much hate is because of fear. People are scared of the complexity of pickles. The harsh and intense flavor frightens their taste buds. It could also just be personal preference, but I doubt it. Okay fine, yes, it is personal preference. Not everyone needs to love pickles as much as I do. However, I think that pickle haters need to give it another try. Do not just ask for no pickles without first giving it a try. If you have tried it and still hated it, then I think you need to try a different approach. 

For starters, you could try isolating the pickle. Now, this will only work for a small group of people, but it is definitely worth a shot. The most effective way of finding a love for pickles is by trying them on other food that you like. Pickles are not just a sandwich topping. A great place to start is with different variations of pickles, such as fried pickles and pickles from other parts of the world. For example, kimchi is fantastic. In India, there are hundreds of different pickle varieties that are eaten in many ways. 

So just please try and give pickles another try. Whether it’s on a fried chicken sandwich or some other culinary creation, just try some pickles. They are an incredible topping on all kinds of dishes and are severely misunderstood. Try some freaking pickles!


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