[Sca-cooks] Pickles (was Re: Weird food)

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Fri Jul 18 11:43:50 PDT 2008

Laureen Hart wrote:

>If there was lots and it wasn't likely to be eaten quick enough mom would
>pickle it or freeze it. Mom always said pickling everything was a 
>Midwest thing.
>I suspect it was also a "not much money" thing.
---------------- End original message. ---------------------

I think it is more accurate to say it is a 
pre-refrigeration-era-world-wide thing.

People salted, pickled, dried, smoked and otherwise preserved foods 
so they would have them out of season and through the winter. About 
the only places this did not happen are in areas where salt was not 
easily obtained or in hunter/gatherer societies.

Pickles aren't just cucumbers, that is a rather American mind set. 
You can pickle just about anything. Look at the gigantic variety of 
pickled vegetables in Asian cultures, India, Russia and just about 
any place you can think of that has ready access to large quantities of salt.

I am trying to find the details but I once read an account of how one 
war during the Shogunate period in Japan was actually cut short by 
one side cutting off the supply of salt to the other. Without the 
flow of salt from the seashore to the inland province, the farmers 
could not preserve enough food for the winter and would suffer famine.

We take salt for granted these days in the industrialized world. It 
is ubiquitous and cheap (it was not always so, sometimes it was a 
very dear commodity) and many of its uses in food preservation have 
gone by the way side in our modern society. Which is a shame in my 
opinion because many of the foods that were once preserved through 
pickling and salting were quite delicious in their own right. The 
developing world still maintains many of these traditions because 
they have to in order to survive.

I once served pickled figs at a dinner. They were looked at with much 
suspicion by many of the diners but those who were daring enough to 
try them generally liked them. I had the advantage of all of my 
guests being personal friends who were familiar with my culinary 
skills and who generally have a slight bit more adventurousness than 
the average Joe or Jane. Out of the 20 people there, I think all but 
about two tried them and the majority thought they were "strange but 
strangely good".


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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