You regulars at Feast may or may not have noticed that the café has developed a predilection for pickling. We’ve pickled cherries, okra, cucumbers (two ways), quail eggs, red onions, lemons and on September 2nd we are giving pickled peaches a chance on our salad special. Some of these items have appeared in specials, and some are being sold in the store as we speak.
Why all this pickling mania? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but pickles are awesome. They are even healthy, although I won’t bore you with all the health benefits, which are more numerous than I care to research. However, I will bore you with some fantastic pickle facts that I’ve tracked down.
- The history of pickles stretches so far back into antiquity that no definite time has been established for their origin, but they are estimated to be over 4,000 years old
- If it weren’t for pickles, Christopher Columbus might never have “discovered” America. In his famous 1492 voyage, Columbus rationed pickles to his sailors to keep them from getting scurvy. He even grew cucumbers during a pit stop in Haiti to restock for the rest of the voyage.
- Pickles inspired Thomas Jefferson to write the following: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.” (Had to throw in a quote from our guy, TJ.)
- In the Pacific Islands, natives pickle their foods in holes in the ground lined with banana leaves, and use them as food reserves in case of storms. The pickles are so valuable that they’ve become part of the courting process, helping a man prove he’ll be able to provide for a woman. In Fiji, guys can’t get a girl without first showing her parents his pickle pits
So, come by Feast and try our pickles. I can’t promise you’ll win a wife, but I can promise you’ll enjoy the experience. We’ll be running pickled okra as a special side in the cafe on September 2nd and 3rd (permitted our supply holds out). If you are interested in tasting pickled cherries, we have a few leftover from a special we ran several weeks ago. Come ask me at the café, and I’d be glad to give you a taste. And, we are selling some really fantastic house-made dill pickles, pickled red onions and preserved lemons in the store. The preserved lemons are my number one favorite condiment to use on everything.
Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Brooklyn Brine Pickles that we now carry. I was lucky enough to meet Seamus, the mind behind the brine at the Food Show in DC. He’s really taken the art of pickling to the next level, and he’s a nice guy to boot. We currently carry his Lavender Asparagus, Curried Squash and Whiskey Sour Pickles. They are all yummy, but I have to give a special shout out to the Lavender Asparagus pickle, which almost made me consider a pickle proposal. On August 20th Brooklyn Brine hosted their 2nd Annual pickle-eating contest. What?!! Whose up for a road trip next year?
If anyone has suggestions for other items that should be pickled, let me know. In particular, I’m interested in fall and winter pickling. Pickled beets? Pickled winter squash? Pickled turnips? The possibilities are endless. Peter Piper ain’t got nothing on Feast.