Let my experience be a lesson to you: pickles only in moderation. Also, for god's sake use a plate. (No, as a matter of fact, I was not raised in a barn, but sometimes I think my parents wished I could be.)
So, in memory of my poor lost pickles - which, oh god, ew - I give you: food-related stories.
The One That Should Be Called 'Management Techniques of the Fifty-First Century.' Although If This Is Actually How They'll Manage Then, Well, Peter Drucker Will Be Horrified. Vitamin A, by basingstoke. Torchwood, gen.
When I bookmarked this, I noted that Torchwood is just about the only fandom I can imagine where a story can have a spanking scene between two grown men and still be gen. Jack Harkness is like some weird sexual anomaly field: nothing sex-related is impossible if he's nearby. And that includes even a totally non-sexual spanking scene.
But what I actually love about this story is - okay, there's two things. First, it's funny. And it will be especially funny to those of you who have ever managed a difficult employee. (Note: this story should not be taken as management advice. Some things can't be done by anyone but Jack Harkness; if you try this, you'll get your ass sued off. But feel free to imagine doing it in your next unpleasant work encounter.)
Second, it's a look at the way Jack Harkness's mind works. Apparently the fifty-first century has highly unusual methods of problem-solving. And they've managed to get thinking outside the box down to an art form. Or maybe that's just something peculiar to Harkness, too. (Does anyone know if there's any fan fiction that depicts life in Jack's fifty-first century aside from cherryice's awesome Leave the Light On? I would love some good stories that explain how he got this way. And I don't mean the, you know, eternity issue, because he was what we might term a highly creative thinker long before that.)
So, what's the food connection? Coffee. Owen apparently can't make it. Or, rather, he can, but you need to be immortal (and brave) to drink it. So I guess he's kind of the Starbucks of the damned.
The One Where You Learn That a Less Known Side Effect of Membership in the Clan MacLeod Is Flexibility in the Kitchen. No, Not That Kind of Flexibility. Although That Probably Comes with the Tartan, Too. The Freshest and the Best, by julad. Highlander, Duncan MacLeod/Methos.
This is part of Julad's shopping series (which is, by the way, thoroughly awesome); Duncan and Methos go grocery shopping. No, really, that's all that happens here, and it's wonderful. I love seeing Methos push Duncan around, even if I think the purchase and eating of eel is - well, not one of the best ideas Methos has had. Way more disgusting than a lot of pickles. (But if you are an eel eater, know that I honor and cherish your differences. And, um, I've been a vegetarian since I was 10, so I wouldn't really know, but isn't that stuff kind of rubbery? It looks like it would be rubbery.)
And I really love this version of the Duncan/Methos relationship - Methos is keeping Duncan young and flexible, which is both ironic (or, you know, the title of a book from the self-help section of the Watcher's Library - Chicken Soup for the Immortal's Soul: Tips on Staying Young from the World's Oldest Man) and totally appropriate, because someone needs to do that. (Look. I love Duncan as much as the next girl, but sometimes he acts like he has a katana up his ass.) In this story, Methos makes the decisions about the really important things - food, sex, saffron - and leaves the unimportant stuff - the Game, beheading, vengeance - for MacLeod to do at some point when it doesn't inconvenience Methos. In short, this is Highlander one of the ways I love it: light, funny, with characters I can honestly believe have lived a long, long time.
Additional bonus: you get TWO recipes for eel! Sort of! I mean, this isn't going to do me much good, but if you've got a lot of eel sitting around (deceased eel, obviously - if you've got a live eel, that's a whole different story) and you can't think what to do with it (which seems to be the likely outcome of having a lot of dead eel), here are some ideas.
The One That, I'm Warning You Right Now, Will Make You Think Impure Thoughts about Desserts. A Little Cheesecake, by kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg.
We've all fallen in love with a cheesecake - oh, don't even tell me you haven't; I saw you with that luscious slice of New York style, stroking her creamy sides and licking her off your fork, and don't think I didn't hear you moan - but most of us don't, um, take it quite as far as Jim does in this story. (And, no, seriously, stop thinking about American Pie. Stop it right now. He doesn't take it that far. At least not in this story, and I think it's safe to say I will never rec the story where he does. Although no one should consider that a challenge, please.)
This is a great look at Jim at the beginning of the series: so repressed he cannot be in the same state, or even plane, as an emotion. And it's a great look at how Blair is the perfect fit for that. See, there's a conversation in this that - okay. The first time I read this story, I had to click away in the middle of it because my embarrassment squick warning went off. If you've got an embarrassment squick, you're probably familiar with this. It's like the aura before a migraine; it's this little internal monitor that says, "Warning: this could get embarrassing, and then you will die. Just FYI!" So, you know, I paused in my reading to fortify myself. And then I clicked back.
And the thing is, Blair just manages this conversation like he was talking about chopsticks or something. He is the perfect counterbalance to early canon Jim: he's like a mediator, forcing Jim to get in touch with his emotions. Only Blair's mediation sessions come with blow jobs. (Note for licensed mediators: do not try this in your place of work.)
The One That Should Come with a Warning Reading, "Will Put a Song in Your Head That You Hoped You'd Forgotten." No, Not Celine Dion. Even Worse. But It's Worth It, I Promise. Four Boots, Five Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Feet, by kormantic. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.
Bodyswap, people. Bodyswap. Is there anything better? No, there isn't. And this is an awesome bodyswap, filled with humor and fruit and comparative analysis of asses, so you want to read this RIGHT NOW.
And now every single one of you who hasn't already read this has clicked and is no longer reading this sentence; I can safely assume I'm addressing just those of you who have read it. (Okay, fine. And everybody who doesn't read SGA, and everybody who doesn't read fan fiction at all.) So I can tell you that in this story, Rodney and John learn a lesson that got totally skipped in kindergarten, at least for me, which is: if you start sharing there's just no end to it, and eventually you end up unable to call even your body parts truly your own.
(That would make an awesome lesson, don't you think? My kindergarten was clearly deficient. Although I'm not sure how you prepare small children for the future rigors of bodyswapping. Is there a felt board or a fingerplay for that? Maybe a song with mnemonic hand gestures?)
So, basically, on the Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Fan Fiction chart, this would be: share, but only with people you wouldn't mind having sex with, because we all know where sharing leads. (But another thing I've learned from fan fiction is that everyone wants to have sex with everyone, even tentacles, so, really, I guess this wouldn't change much.)
The food in this one, by the way, sounds genuinely tasty. But remember, kids: keep your alien fruit to yourself unless you want to get laid.
The One You Should Not Read Around Mealtime Unless You Are a Really Adventurous Eater. A Hell of a Dinner, by daegaer. Good Omens, gen.
And here's a story that I had to include because it a) is wonderful and b) features the most revolting dinner you could pay 115 pounds for (um, because I'm too lazy to look it up, does anyone know how to make the pound sign on an American keyboard?), complete with a link to the restaurant where you can go to get your very own expensive and hideous dinner. (BACON. In ICE CREAM. There are absolutely no words for this horror. And I cannot believe our governments are worried about things like drugs and terrorism in a world where people openly and wantonly make sardine sorbet. Priorities, people! Biggest problems first! Solve them with guns if necessary!) This is precisely the sort of food Crowley would fancy. In fact, he probably sat through the entire meal feeling vaguely bitter that he didn't think of it first.
(I also have my suspicions about who did think of it. Has anyone seen Famine since the world didn't end?)
In any case, this story is perhaps the ultimate thing to read when you want to feel better about making yourself sick with pickles. (...Yeah, okay, that's an audience that is limited to just me. Me and my SHAME. But it's also worth reading even if you've never had a pickle in your life.) Because you can read it and think, "Well, at least I didn't pay 115 pounds for those pickles." And also you will be very very grateful that it was just pickles you ate, and not pickle flavored ice cream. (Probably it be a sorbet, actually. Zesty dill pickle sorbet. Okay. Ew. Oh my god, ew. Actually, I - I think I need to go lie down right now.)