Pickle Wars - My Slow Cooker, My Enemy Blog at Allrecipes.com - 161566

My Slow Cooker, My Enemy

Pickle Wars 
Mar. 4, 2010 11:37 pm 
Updated: Mar. 25, 2010 2:39 am
My husband is from the old country.... really old.  The Middle East.  They pickle EVERTHING there.  Of course, they also eat other things I would never touch except in a severe famine.  But we're even on that score.  My inlaws were appalled that we eat crawfish in Louisiana.

We have a group of friends now who bombard us with pickled things.  Cucumbers are the least used.  Right now, it's cauliflower, carrots, blazing hot peppers, garlic, more garlic, extra garlic...  My husband is absolutely ecstatic over it.  He looooooves his pickled whatchamacallits, and since he's a much-loved fella, he receives pickled gifts from three families at a time.  One woman gave us a mushy horror of cauliflower and mushrooms embalmed in pure vinegar.  I do not, under any circumstances, famine or not, recommend that combo.  Gack!  Even hubby had to give this one a two-thumbs-down. 

About the wars...  I recall the days when I was a kid and everyone we knew had a "family secret pickle recipe".  They'd give you a jar, maybe even several jars, but never, ever share the recipe.  Because, after all, it was a "family secret".  Some of these, I suspect, were closer to military secrets.  Honestly, a few of those pickles could have been used as weapons if launched by catapult to the enemy subdivisions.  They were that bad.  Smelly, squishy, and exploding in a vile bath of vinegar and a culinary cacophony of spices. 

My mom never entered the wars, but her younger sister couldn't resist.  She was single, in her early 30's with no prospects in sight, and had way too much time on her hands.  So she created the family recipe for bread and butter pickles.  Yummy, crunchy, sweet and spicy, with just the right ratio of sugar to vinegar to spices to veggies.  These were incredible, and no one has been able to recreate that recipe to this day.  For a woman who has yet to learn how to cook a decent meal, she took the blue ribbon with her pickles. 

Enter the jealous neighbor, and her so-called best friend.  Not to be outdone, especially at the annual church fair, Mrs. Neighbor Lady made up her own recipe for B&B pickles.  Not only did they not take the blue ribbon, or the red or the white... they nearly killed the priest!  (Bear in  mind that this same woman made homemade eggnog with real bits of cooked egg floating in the hot brew.  Shudder.) 

Although these two women, now in their seventies, give different reasons for the bitter end of their friendship, I'm convinced that it was really the pickle war that caused their bitter breakup.

Mar. 5, 2010 4:09 am
Amusing blog. I remember the pickle wars myself. My mother never shared her recipes, either! We were the "innocents" that tried these different recipes. Thank goodness she finally concocted a good pickle recipe that everyone loved. We even grew our own cucumbers for these adventures. Keep on cookin'!
Mar. 5, 2010 5:00 am
Very funny story! Thanks! Looking forward to your next entry
Mar. 5, 2010 6:46 am
Pickle making is the best of all of the canning/preserving arts. The aroma of jelly making is wonderful, having jars of green tomato mincemeat is worth more than money in the bank, but the sight of racks of jars of pickles cooling brings a satisfaction it's hard to describe. The difference in pickling isn't just the recipe alone - the ingredients must be at the perfect stage of ripeness, and the other ingredients must be fresh. The vinegar makes all the difference, and as we all know, there are tons of different kinds of vinegar, and different strengths. Pickling is a real art. That's why they give prizes for it. Let's face it, we are not all artists.
Mar. 5, 2010 8:51 am
was never involved in the pickle wars but when I started canning my gramma and aunts were at the end of their canning lifestyle. So they were getting rid of everything. I scooped up jars, canners, strainers, etc. I did not have much trouble getting all the famiy TNT recipes. I now can ALOT and all the young ones in the family (sibblings and cousins) shop in my pantry every year. I love it!!!
Mar. 5, 2010 2:54 pm
LOL!! I noticed you were from both my cousins and Aunt & Uncle's neck of the woods so I had to read your blog. Great story!! I love to can produce out of my garden, never had much luck w/pickles but I did manage to get the Northern Aunt's top secret peanut brittle recipe. Talk about military secret!
Mar. 25, 2010 2:39 am
Oh! I canned B & B pickles once...the year the cucumber vine would not die. I prayed and prayed for an early frost, but that thing just kept bearing. The pickles were a hit, at least that. And years later, I even learned to eat and enjoy B & B pickles. Those? No. No one in our house cared for them, so they were gifted outward. (But MIL said they were good, and why would she lie?)
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About Me
Born and raised in Cajun country, I've been cooking since I was in grade school. I think Louisiana cuisine is the best, but the BEST of the best can be found in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
My favorite things to cook
Cajun style seafood, gumbos and traditional dishes; Mexican dishes; anything with pasta; smoked brisket, chicken and ribs.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Sundays at my Italian grandma's usually meant spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken, and homemade rolls. Having both Cajun and Italian roots, our meals included jambalaya, crawfish etoufee, lasagna, juicy beef or pork roasts, smothered round or chuck steaks...
My cooking triumphs
My smoked brisket is a hit with friends and family, my Shrimp Creole rocks, and I've had a lot of success with my husband's traditional Iranian dishes too. His Iranian friends often ask for MY recipes!
My cooking tragedies
1000 characters isn't enough to cover them all, but I have to say my Asian cooking never, ever turns out as I'd like. Some is downright awful. Baking is possibly my weakest area, but I'm improving. Crockpots have it in for me, and ruin everything I try.
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