Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Aunt's Pickles

Years ago my aunt taught me how to make her dill pickles. They are delicious and quite well known in our family for their great taste. My aunt died three years ago now but our family continues to enjoy "her pickles" because she shared her recipe and taught me how to make them. As my boys grow older their memories of my aunt may fade but they will always remember her through her pickles. (cukes after a turn in the washing machine)

I love things like that. The knowledge and feelings and love that can be passed down through a recipe. My boys never knew my grandmother but they know and love her oatcakes and scones and they love to have tea parties with me while we eat those scones or oatcakes on my great aunt's tea set. My aunt's pickles and potato salad were a highlight at my wedding dinner, she was proud to be asked to bring them and I was pleased to be able to share such delicious food with our guests. The boys love spending time with my parents and they often talk about Grandpa's bread and Gramma's strawberry freezer jam that they eat at breakfast with them. My brother and I will always remember my mom's perogies and now I continue to make them for my family.

(secret ingredients - 1 grape leaf per jar and lots of garlic)
Food is such a visceral thing, I think. It touches on real connections and stirs strong feelings deep within us. Don't we all have some sort of food memory that touches us and takes us back to our youth? Sometimes I wonder what sort of food memories this younger generation will have when they are older. Will they have the same sort of memories that I feel lucky to have or will theirs be for prepared, packaged and fast food? I can't quite imagine it. In the meantime, I need to get more cukes for a bigger batch of pickles next time.


Joanne said... does touch on those memories. Did you say you put your cucumbers in the washing machine? I think I need more details ;)

denise said...

Yum. My memories of food are so deep that I try to think of those things with the boys as we go.

My cukes are just coming in, so I am canning only a few jars at a time - both with vinegar and then lacto-fermenting. I only have 3 jars so far, but I have a few plants *this close* to being over the top. :)

Heather said...

Yes, Joanne, you just put them in the machine and let it run through the wash cycle to agitate - not the spin or anything - I put an old towel in there too and they get nice and clean really easily. If you are doing a big batch - last year I did about 75 lbs - then it really helps a lot. I don't know if you could do that with a front loader though. The thought went through my mind this year - what if I had an autopilot moment and ended up putting laudry soap in there by accident. Eek!

Denise - now I have to find out what lacto-fermenting pickles are. Hmmmm, sounds interesting.