The Joy of a 5-Minute Pickle Sandwich


A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we’re guessing you have those covered. Psst, did you hear we’re coming out with a cookbook? We’re coming out with a cookbook!

In the before times, I was a lunch planner. Which is to say, more organized (okay, uptight) than a dinner planner, albeit not as much as a breakfast planner, or even a snack planner, though I’m not even sure if these exist.

I made soup on Sundays. I portioned it into pint containers. I labeled the pint containers. I froze the pint containers in my deep freezer. My deep freezer that I bought specifically for making pint containers of soup.

Then, at the start of each week, I pulled a medley of soups (chickpea noodle! cashew tomato! tahini spinach!) from the freezer to thaw in the fridge. I packed a new flavor each morning, toted it on the train, strolled it to our office, and microwaved it in the team kitchen as soon as noon struck.

I’m not like that anymore. Not even a little bit.

Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog

No, now I’m the sort of person who realizes it’s 1:56 p.m. at the same time that I realize I have a meeting in four minutes. But how? So I sprint to the blender (to the blender!), throw in a half-ripe banana, some crushed ice, peanut butter, and oat milk. And I gulp it down while on no-video, no-audio, partly out of respect for my coworkers, but mostly for my dignity.

And honestly? None of this makes any sense. I eliminated two-plus hours of commuting (on a good day—because NJ Transit is nothing if not unpredictable) and somehow ended up with less time to make lunch. Has time lost all meaning?

I’m going to go with yes. That’s okay. That’s fine. That’s where this pickle sandwich comes in. It’s cheesy, it’s mustardy, it’s glorious. Almost as easy as blending a banana. And infinitely more satisfying.

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