(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘pickles

“Now I luxuriously thrust for noble pickle”*…

The delicacy that delights…

Amerigo Vespucci didn’t discover the Americas, contrary to what the map-makers who named the continents believed, but his given name did end up lending itself to the so-called “new world.” And Ralph Waldo Emerson once called Vespucci “the pickle-dealer at Seville,” a derisive label that may have stretched the truth a bit, but pointed towards a very real part of the itinerant Italian’s biography.

Before traveling to the New World himself, Vespucci worked as a ship chandler—someone who sold supplies to seafaring merchants and explorers. These supplies included foods like meat, fish, and vegetables that had been pickled, which meant they would stay preserved beneath a ship’s deck for months. Without pickling, expeditions had to rely on dried foods and ingredients with naturally long shelf lives for sustenance. Much of the time, this limited diet wasn’t enough to provide crewmembers the nutrition they needed for the journey ahead. This made pickle sellers like Vespucci indispensable during the golden age of exploration. Vespucci even supplied Christopher Columbus’s later voyages across the Atlantic with his briny goods. So while he wasn’t the world’s most important explorer, Vespucci’s pickles may have changed history by preventing untold bouts of scurvy.

And pickles weren’t just enjoyed by 15th century sailors. From ancient Mesopotamia to New York deli counters, they’ve played a vital role in the global culinary scene. But where do pickles come from? How did the cucumber become the standard-issue pickling vegetable in the States? And what exactly is a pickle, anyway?…

The story of a humble but crucial comestible: “A Brief History of Pickles.”

Martial

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As we dig in, we might spare a thought for Sylvester Graham; he died on this date in 1851. A Presbyterian minister, he preached primarily of the benefits of vegetarianism (and temperance). He urged the use only of whole, coarse grains– inspiring a host of graham flour, graham bread, and graham cracker products.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 11, 2021 at 1:00 am

Greasepaint and Brine…

The legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David once stated that “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

I beg to differ.

What the world needs– nay, rightfully deserves– are 1950s advertising photos of clowns eating pickle products.

More, at Armagideon Time’s “Greasepaint and Brine.”

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As we tickle our tastebuds, we might recall that it was on this date in 1057, at the Battle of Lumphanan, that King Macbeth of Scotland was slain by Malcolm Canmore– whose father, King Duncan I, was murdered by Macbeth 17 years earlier.

(Shakespeare’s MacBeth is based on Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which in turn borrows from Boece’s 1527 Scotorum Historiae– which was crafted to flatter Duncan, an ancestor of Boece’s patron, King James V of Scotland.  Accounts now considered more historically-accurate– and fairer to MacBeth–  can be found in the novels of Dorothy Dunnett and Nigel Tranter… though of course the Bard’s tale is still the rippingest.)

Imagined 19th century portrait of Macbeth

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

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