For the Purpose of Transformation: Pickled Onions

The last few weeks stormed in like an unwanted anyone. Michael and I were running on different schedules, our chances of collision slim, so I was simultaneously missing him and resenting his ship for passing mine in the night. I was going at everything angrily because I knew no other way to go at it. Work people were getting sick; I could taste my cough just around the corner. The weather was playing games like a teasing idiot with one day feeling almost nice (see: me running in the park) to the next being down right freezing (see: me running hands under warm water). My shoulders felt stuck in a constant state of hunched.   

In my head I’d been whimpering over this one pair of socks I used to have. Navy blue socks that reached my knees, that I was convinced if in my possession, I would feel better. “Bring me my socks!I said to no one. I knew they were packed away in storage, which is why I refused to buy a new pair, but I was straight up angry for not having my socks.

Then I posted a status update on Facebook one day offering up a free ticket to a Brooklyn Historical Society lecture on the Gowanus Canal and not one person wanted to go. Not one person. And then I went to a mac n cheese tasting competition (as a taster) and did not taste one good mac n cheese. Not one good mac n cheese. These are not things to get angry about, and yet I felt like throwing fastballs at walls like a crazy.

Everything was making me mad. The only signs of Michael coming home at night were the empty yogurt and hummus containers he’d leave in the sink (see: me with a grimace). It was hard not to take any of it personally.

Did I mention I was reading Gone Girl in the midst of it? Slowly at first. A chapter here, a chapter there. And not because it was slow going but because it was too good to finish too fast. (I eat the way I read.) So to top it all off I had these two appalling people ruining each other’s lives in the very back of my psyche.


Something had to change. I needed a quick fix. I needed something to work and for it to work properly. I said out-loud: “I think I have to pickle something.” I’d never pickled anything in my life and yet all of a sudden I had this severe desire to get it done. I knew there’d be a pleasure to pickling, taking just three normal, everyday ingredients - salt, sugar, and vinegar - and using them for the purpose of transformation.

Who says change has to start with yourself? I say let it start with an onion.


  • 2 small red onions
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar (the only sugar I had in the cupboard)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Slice the onions.
  2. Whisk together everything but the onions in a small bowl.
  3. In a mason jar, pour the mixture over the onions.
  4. Let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes if you want to eat them soon. Otherwise, wait a day and enjoy them then.