Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tilly's Pickles

I never had the chance to know my paternal great grandmother Tilly. All I have is the stories of her, the family lore. That, and the repeated stories that indicate she was a great cook.  She worked as a cook as well, in a school for many years, before the days of frozen meals and burgers and fries in school cafeterias. 

This Christmas, my grandmother gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received. It is the cookbook that was given to her, by her mother, when she got married. The publication date is 1952, and it was the cookbook that my grandmother and great grandmother cooked out of. It is so wonderful to have this piece of family history to look at, and, because I'm me- to cook from. 

The bread and butter pickles are one of the things that my great grandmother was known for, and as soon as I got the cookbook, I started plotting to make them.  

So I chose a day that I dubbed "Pickle Day", and set out to make my pickles.  I also was making Sriracha pickles, because I have had a bunch of requests from my co-workers to make more. 

Here is the cast of characters: 

And the cucumbers and onions, all sliced up:

Sidenote: I used my mandoline for the first time making these pickles, and while it is efficient and made it a whole lot faster and easier, it also took a chunk of one of my knuckles off. That thing is SHARP.  I need to get one of those metal mesh gloves. Or to use the guard it comes with.... 

 Jars getting ready to be sterilized:

The fruits of my labor! (the Sriracha pickles are here too)

There's something to using recipes from the past (although I had to update this recipe slightly, because I processed the jars instead of just hot-packing them) It makes me feel more connected to my family, and to a woman I've never known, but hope that some of her love of cooking has been passed down through me.