Friday, April 18, 2008

I Heart Pickles!

My master's project, City Picklers, is finally ready to meet the world. The site, produced with Lisa Biagiotti, tells the story of how homemade pickles are invigorating the local food movement.

Over the course of the project, I made more than five quarts of sauerkraut, plus pickled lemons, kimchi, cucumber pickles, fermented garlic, a failed attempt at pickled cauliflower (cruciferous veggies smell bad when fermented) and pickled fennel.

Our final week of work, which occurred during "spring break," was one of my most grueling as a student. A 120+ week that culminated in a 3-day labor spree where Lisa and I logged 65 hours. But it was totally worth it to see our pickles fly off the page and into the hearts (mouths?) of our viewers.

Here's our official synopsis:
is a website devoted to New York pickles--in all varieties, including vinegar, lacto-fermented, Jewish, Indian, Chinese, and so on. Every culture has its pickle, and we found that pickling still thrives in the historic pickle district on the Lower East Side, in ethnic enclaves of the outer boroughs, in farmer's markets and in pickling classes.

Through multimedia and text, tells the story of:

* new pickling businesses and the local food culture surrounding home and artisinal pickling, including interviews with Rick Field of Rick's Picks, and Al Kaufman of the Pickle Guys
* the benefits of pickling and ancient traditions of lacto-fermentation, including interviews with fermentation expert, Sandor Ellix Katz
* how-to make the crunchers, with instruction by hipster pickler Bob McClure of McClure's Pickles and Inside Park chef Matt Weingarten

The site is best viewed in the Firefox browser.

We'd like to thank the more than 70 chefs, cookbook authors, historians, purveyors and picklers we interviewed over the last six months.

Happy pickling!

Lisa Biagiotti and Lizzie Stark

Photo by Lisa Biagiotti.

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