I was sitting on the patio at Winslow’s Home on Delmar, when my hamburger arrived. It was massive and messy, oozing with such delights as caramelized onions, pimento cheese, bacon jam, and lettuce. It took some restructuring before I could get it under control. Underneath it all, there was a bit of green showing. I pushed the fries aside and found two, large chunks of pickle. I could tell right away it wasn’t the typical spear or slice that comes from a commercial gallon jar.
Peter Piper Packed a Peck of Perfect Pickles
Normally, I pass on the pickles thrown onto a burger platter to give the appearance of a balanced meal, but these struck a memory chord. Once upon a time, I had made pickles. Back then, I was young, foolhardy and willing to attempt anything in the kitchen. The recipe I used came from my friend Howard, a math professor, who made pickles every year. It was an old Arkansas recipe that required 30-days of pampering sliced cucumbers with various additives until they were crispy and crunchy. I suspect the same results could’ve been achieved in 14 days, or even 7, but I never pressed the point.
I was so proud of my home-canned pickles. You’d have thought I’d won a blue ribbon at the county fair. But it was far more work than I was willing to put in every year, so I returned to Heinz and enjoyed an occasionally gift from Howard.
I picked up one of the Winslow pickles from my hamburger plate and bit into it. Tears came to my eyes. It was as near to what Howard made as I had ever found. When I inquired of my server, I learned that I was eating a slightly sweet dill variety made at the restaurant. And, no, they didn’t bottle them for sale. When I told him I was interested in writing a post about my discovery, he talked to the chef, and arranged for me to purchase a small container of the pickles.
Sharing the Joy
I was so thrilled as I headed back down Delmar with a bag of pickles in the seat beside me. I was on my way to see my friend Judy, who is 90 and lives at McKnight Place. We’ve cooked many a lunch together at various clubs and church events in Rolla. You might say we’re longtime food buddies. I took the container in with me and told her my pickle story. Her eyes lit up; she wanted to give them a try. We found a couple of forks and together enjoyed a taste testing like we might have done with a new recipe fresh from the oven years ago. Judy pronounced the chunks as crispy as any she’d ever eaten. (Crisp is good in pickles.)
It’s been awhile since I found a pickle that suits me like this one and comes with so many fond memories. Apparently, they’re served at Winslow’s Home only with the hamburger, that is, unless you can negotiate for some on another dish. It’s definitely worth a try.
My nephew, Bobby Carnahan, makes bread and butter pickles each year and my son, Tom, tried his hand at making dills a few years ago. I encourage all home pickle packers, knowing that most of them tend to over stock and are generous in sharing their bounty with those appreciative of the art.