The Many Meanings of “Pickle”: From Food to Entertainment


When we think of pickles, we often visualize the tangy and crunchy pickled cucumbers commonly enjoyed in the United States and Canada. However, the term “pickle” encompasses a wider range of preserved delights. In Great Britain, we find Branston pickle, a chutney that adds a burst of flavor to any dish. Alternately known as “sweet pickle” or “ploughman’s pickle,” it has become a staple condiment in British cuisine. South Asian countries also offer their own variety of pickles known as “achar.” These savory condiments, popular in South Asia, add a unique and spicy flavor to meals.


Interestingly, “pickle” is not just confined to the realm of food. Throughout history, there have been individuals with the surname Pickle who have left their mark. J.J. Pickle, a United States representative from Texas, dedicated his career to public service. William H. Pickle served as the 37th United States Sergeant at Arms, bringing order and security to the nation’s legislative branch. Alastair Ruadh Macdonnell, known as “Pickle,” played a clandestine role as a Scottish Jacobite turned British government secret agent. Additionally, Alonzo H. Pickle fought valiantly as a Canadian-American soldier in the American Civil War.


The term “pickle” extends even further into the digital world. In the realm of apps, Pickle can refer to a crowdsourced job application platform where individuals have the opportunity to find employment opportunities. In the Python programming language, there is a “pickle” module that allows for the serialization of objects, making them more easily transferrable and storable.


Pickle has also made its mark in the world of entertainment. Fans of the popular animated series “Rick and Morty” may remember the famous episode “Pickle Rick.” In the world of cinema, “The Pickle” is a 1993 film that tells the story of a washed-up director attempting to make a comeback. Arlo Guthrie’s song “The Motorcycle Song” has also been alternatively titled “The Pickle Song” on different albums, including “Alice’s Restaurant” and “The Best of Arlo Guthrie.”

Military and Sports

Even the military and sports have their share of references to “pickle.” Various ships of the British Royal Navy have carried the name HMS Pickle. In the world of baseball, a “pickle” refers to a rundown situation where a baserunner is caught between bases. Additionally, there is a game called pickleball that bears similarities to tennis and a three-person game known as “pickle-in-the-middle.”


In exploring the various meanings and references to “pickle,” we discover a world beyond the confines of food. This humble preserved delight has permeated different aspects of society, spanning from entertainment to technology. So, the next time you encounter the word “pickle,” remember that it can mean so much more than just a jar of pickled cucumbers.

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