Aug 4, 2011

The proof is in the pickle

(NYTimes) ... No immigrant food was more reviled than the garlicky, vinegary pickle. Pungent beyond all civilized standards, toxic to both the stomach and the psyche, the pickle was seen as morally suspect. As Dr. Susanna Way Dodds wrote in the late 19th century, “the spices in it are bad, the vinegar is a seething mass of rottenness ... and the poor little innocent cucumber ... if it had very little ‘character’ in the beginning, must now fall into the ranks of the ‘totally depraved.’ ”
... Their cheap price tag made pickles enormously popular with the working class. Immigrant mothers gave them to babies to gnaw on, a kind of edible teething ring. Every weekday, when the neighborhood schools let out for lunch, Lower East Side children raced to the nearest pushcart or deli for a meal of penny pickles and a handful of candy. Continued