Pantry Confessions

By Melissa Smith Dean

To Trend or Not to Trend
Trends are everywhere.
They are a fact of our everyday existence.
They are here today and gone tomorrow, a new one patiently waiting in the wings.
To be trendy is to be “hip” or “cool”, “fashionable”, “happening”, or “in”.
I mean, when I think of the word trend, fashion is the first thing that comes to mind.
Let’s examine this for a moment.
Take, for instance, bell bottoms.
They were the “in” fashion staple in the 1960s and 1970s, but recently had a revival in the 1990s with the name “boot-cut.” They weren’t quite the same but could definitely pass as a sister or even close cousin to the famed jeans of the hippie nation.
And let’s not forget that they have also had a resurgence in 2019 or 2020, when they became all the rage in western wear. Most definitely the star of many a woman’s closet at some point.
But just like fashion, food is also trendy.
It comes in waves just like the latest sneakers or that brand new bag that you have to have.
If you are a true foodie, then the latest trends in food and fare make their way into your cooking and onto your plate daily.
It is a very technical situation, food trend forecasting. It can be the most difficult part of any restaurant maintaining their relevance.
But at the same time, if one “overuses” the trend, to the point that it becomes something no one wants to eat anymore, then we have a problem.
Take for instance, sriracha sauce. It became a thing in 2008 to put that stuff on everything from a hot dog to scrambled eggs!
Like now, it’s literally pickle everything!
Remember when fried pickles made their way to the food scene? I don’t know who thought that battering a pickle and frying it to perfection was a good idea, but God bless them.
There is pickle beer.
There is pickle-flavored vodka now. I mean, bartenders used to just add a little pickle juice to the un-flavored vodka and there we were. But now it comes bottled that way.
I have made a pickle cheese ball and an amazing pickle dip with cream cheese that is out of this world delicious.
But pickle flavored everything is everywhere for everyone.
It seems a fine idea.
I mean, who doesn’t like a good pickle?
However, I draw the line at chocolate dipped pickles.
Yes, it is a thing.
One I don’t think I have the nerve to try.
I guess, I should though since I am in fact a foodie.
Oh, well.
Now, there is a pickle recipe that I am going to share with that I made recently.
And you really must keep an open mind.
Are you ready?
Here we go!
Pickle de Gallo.
Yes, it’s a thing.

Sweet M’s Pickle de Gallo
1 Jar of Dill Pickle Relish
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ of a red onion, diced
½ of a white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime

Take a clean and dry bowl and add in your diced tomatoes, red onion, white onion, jalapeno and then the dill pickle relish. Stir that all together and give it a quick taste before adding the lime juice and salt and pepper. I mean, we want this to be pickle-forward, but we also want people to be able to eat it and enjoy it. Adding the lime juice and salt to an already “sour” dish will ruin it. It’s just better to be safe, than sorry, I always say.

Once, you have done the taste test, if you think the pickle de Gallo can withstand the lime juice and the salt, go ahead and it in. The pepper is most definite.
I like to serve this with organic multigrain tortilla chips from HEB or Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s are my favorite, though.
I think this will also be great with some grilled chicken or even as a condiment on hot dogs!
That sounds really good right now!
Maybe possibly even as a relish for baked salmon.
Once again, the possibilities are endless.
Your friends and family will be excited to see this at your next pool party, for sure!
Now, you can buy pickle salsa, pickle ranch dip, pickle, pickle, pickle anything most any place, but making it at home gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I know that may sound funny to most of you, but it is the truth. I find a great amount of joy in the dicing of the vegetables and mixing everything together myself. Plus, you can make for dang sure that you pickle de Gallo will be the freshest it can possibly be!
Now, I know I haven’t been posting a lot of what I would call “major mealtime recipes”, but it’s so hot outside, I think these recipes will keep you happy at the pool or the beach or any other family outing.
I hope this offering finds you happy, healthy and staying cool!
And as always, I wish you peace, love and lots of good food!
Sweet M
Remember you can always email me with questions or recipes at


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