Thursday, November 24, 2005

A paean to pickles

The JWR has an important article on Jews and pickles, or, as they are known in the UK, 'pickled cues'.
I was hopelessly salivating just reading it. I inherited a total addiction to pickled cucumbers from my father o"h. The true and only home of pickled cucumbers is/was the Petticoat Lane market in London's East End [this is fabulous site!]. As a boy, in the 1950's, my greatest treat was to be taken 'down the Lane' on a Sunday morning. Our walk throught the market would be punctuated by stops at pickle stalls, a chat with Prince Monolulu [never in my dreams did I think that I could Google him! None of the links seem to mention the rabbit foot and the fly whisk] and would finish at Blooms in Whitechapel Road. There were three great flavours of pickled cucumbers, none of them available in North America:

1. 'Haimishe', which were not sour, but had a full flavour which I can't identify from memory.
2. 'New Green' - long, curly, rather vinegary pickles, of which the N American green 'half-sours' are a pathetic and misleading imitation, which I alweays buy and always am disappointed. The genuine 'New green' has a subtle, deep flavour.
3. the real aristocrat, however, were the 'Dutch Yellows' - huge, fat cucumbers, which pickled to a bright yellow colour. They were available all year long, but in my memory are connected with pesach. They, too, were sweet not sour. For passing the 11+ (too complicated to explain), while all my friends got bicycles, briefcases etc ... I got a whole Dutch Yellow cucumber. It was an art to eat one. I haven't seen one for 40 years.

Nowadays the Jewish pickle market is dominated by the very briny/salty I sraeli cucumbers, which are not bad, but lack subtlety. The 'kosher dills' are tasteless. Where can I get a real English pickled cucumber ....... and a REAL salt-beef sandwich????????

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found your comment on blogspot because I was searching for a recipe for dutch yellow pickles. I'm not jewish, but I had a mate at school wo was and got addicteded to jewish pickles from a deli near his home in Mill Hill.

I grow about 30 different varieties of pickle cukes each summer. Varieties from Russia, France, Yugoslavia and many other countries, all of which got taken to the USA by immigrants, and that's where I got the seed.

I've spent 10 years perfecting a recipe for new greens - haimishes are easy, although my jewish friends in NY find the name very funny - I never knew it meant "everyday" - but this year, with the queer weather, the cukes have grown so fast that I;ve just picked about 15kg of huge yellow ones - hence the search for a dutch recipe.

If you want a recipe to make your own new greens reply to

Cheers, Colin