Tag Archives: pickles

Pickle swaps, hedgehogs & applesauce

The swappage haul. Impressive, no?

By Laura Grimes

Book Club was great fun.

After I wrote my last post, a book clubber discovered it and broadcast it to the rest of the group. Then the email trail went eerily quiet. This is not a quiet email group. It’s not overly communicative, but the stillness was … worrisome. Were they ticked that I ratted them out?

Nah. Everyone arrived and, reminding them we were to celebrate all things French in honor of our book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, I immediately trained everyone in the double-cheek airkiss. They caught on fast.

Continue reading Pickle swaps, hedgehogs & applesauce

Piccalilli or pick a lot: The food of love

Behold. The finished Jars.

By Laura Grimes

The season’s pickle swaps are in full swing. These things sneak up and before you know it, you have hot peppers in the cupboard and elk meat in the freezer.

A few jars of piccalilli flew out the door the other night in return for promissory notes for bread-and-butter pickles and honey.

An email popped up the next day:

Your piccalilli is amazing. Can you send me the recipe? Thanks so much for sharing it.

So I typed up the recipe, mixing in all my adaptations, and then I kept typing. I was surprised to discover another story that attests to the Power of the Pickle.

Continue reading Piccalilli or pick a lot: The food of love

O where, o where has our little blog gone?

"Portrait of an Extraordinary Musical Dog," oil on canvas (presumed), by the British artist Philip Reinagle, R.A. Dated 1805. From the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Image courtesy of janeaustensworld blog.

By Bob Hicks

You out there, you poor wayfaring strangers stranded at the offramp of the Information Superhighway with a flat tire or a blown gasket or a speeding ticket from a Washington State Trooper who had his radar gun pointed the wrong way but also had a quota to fill and liked the looks of your out-of-state license plates …

Oh, wait. That’s us.

Months ago, in another cyber age, it seemed as if we were punching pithy posts onto this site with precipitous regularity, exploring the inner recesses of our odd obsessions and the outer recesses of the culture at large. And people visited. Like Elvis of Nashville and Jesus of Nazareth we even had “followers,” although we preferred to think of them as congenial partners in crime. Are any of you still here? Have you remained faithful, or at least hopeful? Or have we twittered your allegiance away?

Where has the summer gone, and why have we so adamantly exercised our right to remain silent?

Truth is, there’s been nothing adamant about it: It just sort of turned out that way. Life got hectic, kids were released from their school jail cells, travels beckoned, and our habit of recording our contemplations in this semi-public forum took it in the shorts. Don’t go away: We’ll try to do better from here on in.

To catch you up a bit, here are a few highlights of things we did and mostly didn’t write about.

Continue reading O where, o where has our little blog gone?

Pickles: The old gray market rides high

Carlos Kalmar conducts the Oregon Symphony. We do our own bit of conducting sometimes in the form of serious scientific experiments.

By Laura Grimes

Here at Art Scatter World Headquarters, we concoct more than hot chocolate and dirty-little-secret martinis. We participate in genuine science. For weeks we’ve been conducting The Great Pickles As Social Vehicle Experiment.

Mr. Scatter made a bold declaration recently in the mainstream media about our little family enterprise.

We deal chiefly in the concoction of highly improbable stories and the manufacture and trade of gray-market pickles.

Just how is that gray matter coming along? (Not brain cells.) The experiment is kicking along in fine form with Pickle Swaps (everyone step together now) 5, 6, 7, 8.

Continue reading Pickles: The old gray market rides high

Pickles. They’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Salad kebobs made with dill pickled green cherry tomatoes, fresh red cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and water cress.

By Laura Grimes,
aided and abetted by Bob Hicks

Grand Unsealing of the Pickles day, known to the rest of America as Thanksgiving, went splendidly in the Scatter Household.

Mr. and Mrs. Scatter lined up a variety of preserves vintage 2010 for their first tasting to determine whether they’re naughty or nice. They carefully sniffed, twirled, nibbled, chewed and swallowed. They unanimously agreed that it is the crunchiest vintage yet for the spicy dills and sweet pickles. They suspect it’s because the cucumbers were fresh and firm, and the ones that weren’t sliced were stabbed, allowing the brine to fully penetrate (they can’t believe they typed that either).

The Scatters discussed the merits of each pickle varietal. Here are their tasting notes.

Continue reading Pickles. They’re not just for breakfast anymore.

The first pickle pass-off went down!

By Laura Grimes

Kickass Ginger Molasses CookiesThe first large jar of spicy dill pickles vintage 2010 has launched into the world. It was exchanged over morning coffee for kickass ginger molasses cookies. Just in the nick of time, too. A pack of Large Smelly Boys took over the house. (How rude of teachers to have an in-service day.)

The list of barter offers has grown slightly since the last update (see below).

Because we’re a 75 percent meat-free household, we’re working on a multiple trade for the elk meat. Not to worry, the vendor said: “A three-way always sounds fun.”

Continue reading The first pickle pass-off went down!

Pickles and Pagliacci: Two posts in one

Pickles with a bite of spice -- make an offer I can't refuse!

By Laura Grimes

The pickles as social vehicle experiment is working! (Read what it’s all about here.) So far, the bartering offers include (some serious, some not so much):

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pesto plus a 2009 WillaKenzie pinot gris
  • Elk meat
  • Cream cheese braid
  • $57.32 (perhaps not so serious, but I know the intent is true, because we split one of these jars of pickles for lunch recently on a hot summer day when we had nothing else to eat and had to dig out slices with our fingers)
  • Designer labels for jars (also perhaps not so serious, but a little arm-twisting might work)
  • “Ring of Fire” peppers with an 80K hotness (I still have no idea what this is, but my guess is an extreme distance running race after eating the peppers, which still sound painful)
  • Kickass ginger molasses cookies (also sound painful, but in a good way)
  • Apple pie I
  • Apple pie II
  • Henry James novel

The pickle show hits the road next week to pick up the kickass ginger molasses cookies. It involves a coffee date.

I’m researching how to ship fragile jars with amber liquid. The hot peppers that require running a long distance are being shipped from Idaho from someone I haven’t been in touch with much for more than 30 years. In return, I need to send pickles to a place on Wild Goose Way.

Other rendezvous are in the works.

It’s not too late to make an offer. Hurry while supplies last.

And, George, I saw that! We’re going to have to slice our cucumbers differently next year and call them Bartering Chips.


Pagliacci/Carmina Burana continues tonight and Saturday at Portland Opera. The Small Large Smelly Boy and I will be there and we have a fun post planned. Stay tuned!

We put pickles up ourselves and now we need your help

Our beloved offspring

By Laura Grimes

When word got around that we put pickles up again this year, the barter offers started to come in. So far, we’ve received requests for pickles in exchange for:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pesto
  • Elk meat

This is not a bad combination. (Forget the fact that we don’t eat meat.) Now I’m thinking that if we strike enough deals we could put together an entire Thanksgiving dinner by the fourth Thursday in November. Whaddayasay? I’m hoping for pie.

Continue reading We put pickles up ourselves and now we need your help

Saints preserve us: The steamy details

Pick a little, pack a little

By Laura Grimes

(Editor’s note: Sorry, you seem to be stuck with me. Mr. Scatter appears to be AWOL. Well, not AWOL. More like … A. He’s been traveling. B. He’s been canning. C. He’s been busy. … Hope you don’t mind.)

Perfecting the art of preserving requires more than an oversized canner and a jug of formaldehyde. It requires knowing all the naughty little secrets. Let me save you the trouble of trial and error and spill all the valuable lessons I’ve brought to a boil over the years:

Continue reading Saints preserve us: The steamy details

Avert your gaze, we’re kinda busy

Spicy dills!

By Laura Grimes

Sorry we’ve been neglecting the blog. Mr. Scatter is finally home and we’re in the throes of passion.

We’re making pickles. (What were YOU thinking?)

As you’ll recall, we’re The Condiment Family. In fact, we even have our own motto:

Practice safe snacking. Always use a condiment.

Read last year’s pickle post here. It’s about love, death and those crunchy little cucumbers — sometimes sweet and sometimes sour.

Making pickles is a many-day endeavor that begins easily enough with a many-store shopping trip.

Continue reading Avert your gaze, we’re kinda busy