Sunday, 6 June 2010

An Ode to the Pickle

 Pickles... possibly one of the biggest things, food wise of course, that I crave from life in the US, and more specifically life in Cleveland.  Now I'm not talking about your standard 'gherkin', the most widely represented cucumber pickle that you can find in Great Britain.  I'm not talking about your bread and butter pickle either, although those too are nice at times.  I am speaking directly and specifically about the classic Jewish deli accompaniment to any decent sandwich worth your time; the Kosher Dill Pickle.  This is what I dream about, what I gorge myself on during our trips back to Cleveland (a city which has once had the highest percentage of Jewish people per capita outside of Israel), tucked in the vinyl booths of Jacks Deli amongst the geriatric populations out for 'a bite to eat'.

It's not that the British can't pickle- believe you me they pickle.  They love their pickled beets with their pickled herring, next to their ploughmans sandwiches with Branson pickle and their pickled onions.  Even one of the buildings in the London skyline has been lovingly nicknamed the 'gherkin', but yet no matter where I have tried the deli's never seem to be 'Jewish' and the pickles never seem to be 'dill'.

It's not that the 'Kosher Dill Pickle' is actually kosher.  There is no rabbi I know of whose job consists of going around to all the picklers and blessing their fermenting cucumbers.  The term comes from the style of pickling first done by the Jewish deli's in New York City, back in the 19th century where garlic was added to the dill brine.     

So after my mother's visit last week I am now in possession of a wonderful Michael Simon book.  (A hometown Cleveland chef turned TV chef personality and owner of three restaurants in C-town and one it's it rival city; Detroit.)  It contains many recipes that remind me of Cleveland in the best of ways, along with what I hope to be a fantastic recipe for kosher style dill pickles.  Before I go posting the recipe willy nilly, lets make sure the outcome of this week-long brining process delivers the results I crave. 

Should I be successful my next post may entail my quest to find a deli here who puts more than two slices of meat on their sandwich to partner my pickling accomplishments... 

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