64 Comments

  1. Great post Amanda, loved getting a glimpse into your family history and I totally agree we should all have the knowledge to make basic foods that we most often buy in the supermarket, homemade mayo is the best and I love pickles also. I never knew about cutting the tips and the enzyme they contain. Fascinating, great information and beautiful photo’s.

    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment. Yes the pickles stay really crunchy if you cut off the tips. And I’m glad you appreciated the family stuff. It’s so much a part of who I am. 🙂

  2. I love fresh mayonnaise and homemade pickles – it’s amazing just how different they taste to the commercial preparations too! For anyone lacking elbow power, your mayonnaise recipe should work in a food processor 😉

    • Good point about the food processor, MD. I hadn’t even thought of it. I pulled out my grandma’s old egg beater after my arm got tired. My food processor is a mini one and I have to climb on a stool to pull all of the components down from above the cabinets above the stove. Then I have to wash it and put it back. I really should use it more to justify the real estate. But yes, this tastes so different from what you get in the store. So much better. I was eating it by the spoonful.

  3. Oh how I loved New York pickles. Can’t get anything like them in a jar or anywhere else in the US. Definitely have to try your recipe.
    Homemade mayonnaise is so delicious and doesn’t contain any preservatives.

    • Thanks, Jovina. Yes, there is something special about New York pickles. Maybe it’s in the history! I really ike mayonnaise and the fact that you can change the recipe to your liking.

  4. Two great recipes, Amanda. Just this morning I was thinking of making a batch of bread & butter pickles but your dills sound so good that a change may be nice. Love, homemade mayo, too, and always feel a tinge of guilt when, for convenience sake, I buy a jar off the grocer’s shelf. 🙂

    • Wow that’s so cool that you were thinking of making pickles this morning. Thanks for your lovely comment. I have that same feeling with mayonnaise. I think it’s great that these things came about…they’re useful and have their place and I usually have a jar in my fridge too. It’s nice that we don’t let go of the “do it yourself” option too.

    • Aw thanks, Debbie. OMG pickled jalapenos are soooooo good. I’d like to make a batch myself and throw them in salads. What do you do with them AND more importantly, did you post them? I’m going to go check.

  5. You already know about my obsession with pickles and fermented foods, so I can only say that I love your recipe for dill pickles, it looks and sounds fabulous, and I love the idea of doing a “condiments” post. Pierre hates vinegar which is why I have started lacto-fermenting this year, but I would love your pickles! As to mayo, I have always hated it, until my mom started making her own dilled-mayo, to serve with small potatoes. Then I moved to Lille, where French fries are traditionally served with mayo, and discovered what real home-made mayo is like. So I still hate the store-bought stuff, but LOVE the home-made. I have yet to make it myself; I’ve made Béarnaise sauce which is more technical, so why I am scared of messing up mayo is a mystery!

    • I totally hear you. I would love to try all of the pickle experiments I’ve heard you talk about! Even yesterday’s mushrooms! I need to start learning what you know. That’s so cool about how you came to like homemade mayo. I don’t think you can mess this up. It’s not possible! I’d love fries and mayo. I think I need to move to France, if not just hang out for a bit. I’ve been talking for too long. I’m just going to do it soon. I love the idea of dill in mayo too! Brilliant. Thanks, Darya. 🙂

  6. I agree that knowing your ingredients is the key to good cooking. Your pickles and mayonnaise look super. I didn’t know about cutting off the tips of the cucumbers, although it makes sense as I know this is usually the softest part after pickling or fermenting. I wrote about adding tannins in the form of grape (or some other) leaves or black tea to keep them crunchy, but will add this technique. Pickles can’t be too crunchy!

    • I totally agree with you. What a cool tannin idea. I just bought grape leaves in a jar. I should have stolen some from the vineyards I was at this summer and preserved them myself. I think that’s trespassing though or maybe theft and I don’t want to lose my legal license 🙂

    • Thanks, Stacey. They’re fine as long as they’re clean. I wash them with soap and warm water in the sink and let air dry. So far I haven’t poisoned myself 🙂

  7. Nice. Jody and I are both big fans of homemade fermented anything (4 different homemade pickles in the fridge now + 3 kinds of preserved citrus) and homemade mayo. And of course photography… and yours only gets better and better. I always enjoy checking in to see what you’re up to (not often enough) and I always find a source of pleasure. Ken

    • Thanks so much, Ken. What a thoughtful comment. I need to start preserving more citrus again. I’ll almost out. I totally see why you’re a fan of all of these things. I’ve learned a lot from you guys.

  8. Beautiful soliloquy on pickles. I can still taste my grandmother’s dill pickles straight from the earthenware crock she would make them in. Good tips regarding washing and trimming the cucumber. Somewhere I read that the tannin in grapevine leaves also helps keep pickles crisp, though I have not yet tried this. Love the utensils!

    • What a beautiful memory. Someone else just mentioned the tannin in grapevines! She also said tea helps. I’m telling you though, if you cut off the tips, they’re soooo crispy even after a couple of weeks. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  9. Possibly my favourite post of yours thus far! Your mayo looks damn good, but the pickles are the pièce de résistance! When I was little (under 3 ft sort of little) I had a storybook about pickles. I thought it was the funniest thing that what some people called pickles, I knew as gherkins. I found it even funnier that someone would write an entire storybook about pickles. Then I got a couple of years older and discovered that I loved the things. Never been able to get enough since.

    I didn’t get around to making your pickled radishes, but I will be making these and eating them en masse with rye bread and butter…

    • Thank you so much Karinna. I’m glad you like this. I was looking forward to releasing it since I wrote it this weekend. This one was highly personal for me. I love your book of pickles. I’ve been searching for gherkin cucumbers, but I haven’t seen anything so small at any of the farmers’ markets. I’ll have to stick to big pickles. I love the idea of a pickle story 🙂 Rye bread and butter sound like a perfect match. I”m off to check out your latest eggplant recipe, btw.

    • Thanks so much, Gerard. That’s why it’s so important to bring it back! Simple and easy things like this should be common knowledge! I really appreciate you reading.

  10. You have convinced…well, inspired me to make our mayonnaise. I have been thinking about this every time I pick up another jar of safflower mayo. I say “another” because we really are mayonnaise folks and go through quite a bit. My mom used to make our mayo but I didn’t really pay attention and the idea didn’t follow me out of the house. I’ll make your recipe for sure because I have already made your pickles and love them! I followed the same recipe as your radishes and used cucumbers instead. It’s a matter of fact we just polished off another jar last week! Lovely post Amanda. 🙂

    • I love that you used the radish recipe for pickles. You’ll seriously love these. I do. As for mayo. Since you eat it so much you’ll really be glad you did it. Every sandwich will have that much more pride about it. Thank you so much, Seana for your kind comments. Xo

  11. Oh my, love the updated About page and interview! I feel like I got to know you a bit more through it (not in a creepy way). Pickles I can do; as an honorary Jew, I can say I’ve had my fair share of yummy kosher pickles, as sides, as snacks, as dinner…! Mayo, though, don’t like the stuff too much. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Ngan. I really appreciate your reading it! I love that you’re an honorary Jew and I’m learning how to bake from you. I’ve seen your post on pickled everything and your challah and everything else! You’re a total inspiration.

  12. Beautifully written Amanda. Food stories are the real stories of our lives, aren’t they. And they start so young and stay with us forever. My father was reminiscing about food from his childhood even as he lay dying of cancer. Such a big part of our lives. I will try the pickles. I already make my own mayonnaise. But I also love Hellman’s. And not the fat-free kind. 😉

  13. I just finished to read your updated About page, it is so well written Amanda. It was a real pleasure to reading your posts and thank you for sharing your passion of cooking. I prepared my own mayonnaise, my own aïoli nothing better than homemade recipes 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I love looking at all of your baked goods and salivating. I also really appreciate you taking the time to spend time on my page. It is difficult sometimes when you read so many, but it’s cool to see everyone’s different angles. Oh I’d love to try you aioli. Homemade mayo really is the best.

    • Thanks so much for commenting! Pickles really are so good. It took me a while to really appreciate the value in condiments, but it’s almost like wrapping paper on a gift. The gift itself could stand alone, but a good sauce or accompaniment elevates something good to something better.

  14. Fig & Quince

    I love so many things about this post. The pleasure of making things by hand and knowing how to make them. That’s really important. The fact that the utensils you feature came all the way from Russia. Family heirlooms! Gives me chills thinking about it. The lovely photos and the story. Beautiful, beautiful post! (as always!)

    • Thanks so much, Azita. So nice to hear from you. You leave such lovely, thoughtful comments. I also know how much you appreciate history and personal history and know how you relate. I had no idea my grandma had all of these utensils, but when I tell her about my experiments in the kitchen she’ll slowly reveal things to me.

  15. I made pickled cucumbers.. hm a year ago may be 😀 yumuum crunch-crunch 😀 Here cucumbers are not very firm and good to be pickled, I miss tasty Russian cucumbers.
    I almost don’t eat mayo, and definitely prefer homemade, yours look pretty good!

    • Thanks. Oh yes! My grandma lives in a very Russian neighborhood, near Brighton and the pickles you can get there are unreal. There were kind of inspired by those. I’m not a huge mayo eater either, I just was in the mood for a sandwich one day and figured I’d give it a shot. It does sound like those cucumbers are perfect for pickling.

  16. Love your memories about your grandparents and the Lower East side, I can nearly smell the particular & intoxicating smell of the streets. And pickles, I subscribe to every morsel and must open one of the glasses of this summer’s bounty this instant. You still have Kirby cucumbers – jealousy. N xx

  17. I really appreciate this touching and beautifully written post, Amanda. You are honoring the generations of cooks in your family in such a lovely manner by sharing here. Knowing how something works is indeed fascinating and creating it yourself so very satisfying. Homemade pickles and mayo – yes please! Your photos are quite tempting. I enjoyed reading your interview, too. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Hannah. That really means a lot to hear it from you. Thanks also for reading my interview. Hilarious. 🙂 It’s thoughtful readers like you that make this whole journey so rewarding. xo

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