Archive for dill pickles

The Perfect Pickle

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , , , on July 26, 2010 by davegerry

I grabbed a handful of fresh dill the other day, inhaled deeply , and was rushed (once again) aboard my own personal time machine to those wonderful summers of yore when my father was in pursuit of the perfect pickle.

The making of a good dill pickle was a passion for my Dad. It was one of his more manageable cravings. He would load me into the old Volvo station wagon and we would barrel down the dusty country roads in search of just the right farm that was selling just the right pickling cucumbers. When we found it we would bring those cukes home by the bushel. Then my father would do something strange like dump all the cucumbers in the bathtub for a rinse…but that was my Dad and I got used to that.

Usually we’d bring all the necessary ingredients together at the summer cottage we rented. And then we would have what can only be described as a dill pickle bee. I remember lots of neighbours in the kitchen…in various stages of inebriation. Some were sterilizing mason jars. Some were mixing water with vinegar. Others had their posts at the dill pickle assembly line that formed along the countertop. Maybe it was your job to add the dill..or the garlic..or the single hot pepper. I always kept a close eye on the person putting in the alum…because as a kid,  I had no idea what alum was…and I was already prone to conspiracy theories. One of my buddies had told me that alum might make your voice higher or your penis smaller.

Cases of dill pickles were made that night. People (by now, highly pickled themselves) would stumble back to their own cottages, with parting-gift jars in hand. And long after the summer was over, when the right amount of time had passed, my father would crack open a jar, grab a dill and take a big bite. And if it made a loud enough crunch you knew you had crafted a good batch of pickles. If not, well, there was always next summer.


Pass the Tater Salad

Posted in Food, Glorious Food, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by davegerry

Last night, as part of a birthday celebration that included a fine, whole barbequed salmon, the Frau whipped up some of her killer German potato salad. Everyone in my family knows that the Frau’s potato salad only gets better with each passing day in the fridge. The problem is that it’s consumed almost as soon as it is made.

We’ve all had good potato salad and we’ve all had bad potato salad. Good potato salad has the capacity to be stupendouslyly satisfying. People who eat bad potato salad sometimes don’t wake up the next morning!

bad salad

What makes the Frau’s concoction the best (in my humble opinion) is the tiny dices of good quality dill pickle in there. The dill pickle truly sends it home. The pickle juice itself..right from the jar..also makes it into the salad and it seems to add a certain somethin’/somethin’. People can be very opinionated about this particular summer staple. You don’t want potato salad to be too sweet, nor too watery, nor too congealed. There’s a delicate sort of alchemy at work in potato salad that often defies analysis.

Recently I wrote to a traveller’s forum in Bermuda reminding people how good the potato salad used to be at one of our favorite island haunts. The restaurant  is long gone but the memory of that potato salad remains fresh and tasty in my memory banks…even after 25 years.

This is what lives on in the windmills of your mind..long after you’ve forgotten the name of that once-favorite song, an old address and your new PIN. You’ll remember the potato salad.