Why Do Bars Sell Pickled Eggs?

iStock.com/EzumeImages
iStock.com/EzumeImages

Pickled eggs are something of an acquired taste. Most recipes will instruct you to soak hard-boiled eggs in a jar of vinegar, herbs, spices, and sometimes beets, and voila—you have a tasty, tangy snack.

Let's say you just want one pickled egg, though, instead of a whole batch. The place you're most likely to find one is at your local dive bar. As The Farmers Market Cookbook from 1982 stresses, "No self-respecting barroom would be caught without a jar of pickled eggs on the bar."

Although they're a rarer sight these days, you can still find purple pickled eggs bobbing in a vat of mysterious fluid at many watering holes across the country. But how did such a strange snack become a bar staple? According to Tales of the Cocktail, it all started with a clever marketing ploy.

Back in the 1860s, bars in New Orleans started advertising free lunches to lure patrons into the bar, and those meals typically came with a hard-boiled egg. This habit may have been copied from the French, but there are a few reasons why American bartenders started implementing it. For one, hard-boiled eggs can keep for several hours without being refrigerated, and bars typically had eggs on hand anyway since they're used in some punches and cocktails. There was also a third reason: "To make customers thirstier—and also to keep them from getting sloppily drunk," Everett De Morier writes in The Invention of Everything.

According to De Morier, bars eventually switched to pickled eggs due to health concerns. Pickled eggs can keep even longer than their hard-boiled counterparts, and it also eliminated the hassle of having to clean up the eggshells after the lunch hour rush. Although pickled eggs are popular across the pond in the UK, where a World Pickled Egg Championship has been held, the Germans are the ones who get the credit for introducing the snack to Americans.

"The eggs were popular with Hessian mercenaries and then migrated over to the Pennsylvania Dutch, who used a very simple practice to make them: The egg—or the cucumber or the beet, whatever they were pickling—was placed in a jar of spiced vinegar and left there," De Morier writes.

Jar of pickled eggs on bar shelf.
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Around the same time that bars in NOLA started offering free lunches, pickled eggs also started appearing in German saloons in the U.S. before spreading to other, non-German establishments. Culinary historian Richard Foss believes their popularity was also a matter of taste: Pickled foods and some lagers simply work well together. "The influx of Germans changed America's taste about beer drinking," Foss tells Tales of the Cocktail. "I would very much suspect that they might have brought in a taste for these pickled things that go very well with lager as well."

It's still a popular bar snack in some parts of Germany, he says. Once Americans acquired a taste for pickled treats, the tradition endured for decades. Before Prohibition was enacted, it wasn't uncommon to see a jar of pickled eggs sitting next to a jar of pickled pigs' feet on the bar.

At some point in the hard-boiled egg's evolution, deviled eggs and Scotch eggs also became a popular bar treat, according to Punch. Nowadays, many pubs offer more enticing snacks like soft pretzels with cheese or fried jalapeño poppers, but if you're lucky, you just might encounter the humble pickled egg on your next night out.

"Never been to a bar with a jar of pickled eggs? Then you've never walked on the wild side," Duane Swierczynski writes in The Big Book O' Beer. "There's something special about people who have eaten a pickled egg from a jar with a layer of dust that would rival the Tomb of Tutankhamun."

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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The Reason Your Dog Follows You Everywhere

Crew, Unsplash
Crew, Unsplash

Depending on your mood, a dog that follows you everywhere can be annoying or adorable. The behavior is also confusing if you're not an expert on pet behavior. So what is it about the canine companions in our lives that makes them stick by our sides at all times?

Most experts agree on a few different reasons why some dogs are clingy around their owners. One is their pack mentality. Dogs may have been domesticated thousands of years ago, but they still consider themselves to be part of a group like their wild ancestors. When there are no other dogs around, their human family becomes their pack. According to Reader's Digest, this genetic instinct is also what motivates dogs to watch you closely and seek out your physical touch.

The second reason for the behavior has to do with the bond between you and your pet. As veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack told the American Kennel Club, puppies as old as 6 months can imprint on their human owners like they would their own mothers. Even older dogs will bond with the humans in their lives who show them care and affection. In these cases, a dog will shadow its owner because it sees them as an object of trust and security.

The last possible explanation for why your dog follows you has more to do with your treatment of them than their natural instincts. A popular training tactic is positive reinforcement—i.e. rewarding a dog with treats, pets, and praise when they perform positive behaviors. The point is to help your dog associate good behaviors with rewards, but after a while, they may start to associate your presence with rewards as well. That means if your dog is following you, they may be looking for treats or attention.

A clingy dog may be annoying, but it usually isn't a sign of a larger problem. If anything, it means your dog sees you in a positive light. So enjoy the extra companionship, and don't be afraid to close the door behind when you need some alone time.