I have observed that the best ideas flow from the relaxation of a morning shower.

A little spark came to me and I acted upon it.

I was to make pickles.

It was a beautiful warm autumn day.

COVID 19 restrictions meant stay @ home.

So I set up in the driveway.

Table, chair, chopping board, implements ready and an array of crispy vegetables from the Preston Market: cabbage, green & red capsicums, carrots, onions, zucchinis, eggplant, cucumbers, mushrooms and salt.

Armed with a knife and wearing my red and white polka-dot apron I started to peel, chop, layer and salt the vegetables into a large stainless steel bowl, just like my mother taught me. I’ve only just started making pickles, to save the discarded veggies at the bottom of the crisper.

(From where I sat, the newly installed street library in view and many visiting for a good book.)

I have shared many stories of growing up Italian in Mildura of my mother’s machinations with food, especially as the Calabrese artisan baker. I have been asked, “How will you keep the family tradition going?”

Traditions, skills and methodologies of making food have changed with modernity and industrial machinery. There will always be a place for stories of traditions and formulas.

When it comes to food making, I acknowledge that we are part of an evolving culture. And each of us has modified the approach to fit with our personal lives, our needs and the wants of those we look after.

In this act of sharing pickles, my offering is to everyone.

What my mother taught me belongs to all of us. It’s not a secret recipe or an Italian thing, or even a Calabrese thing. The making of pickles, the recipe, however humble, becomes part of the community vernacular, the discourse of sustainability, the exchange and sharing of ideas and technique. In this way embedded in the places we live.

Does that mean that the tradition then is watered down to insignificance? Does it impact on an erosion of culture?

No, the opposite is true. What we offer contributes to an evolution of a new way of being, doing and living. Culture then emerges. When it’s shared it becomes part of our community identity.

To give a little pickle is to care for the heritage I embody and allow that to be carried by all of us. The intention is to envelope the notion of abundance and to build community identity within which talent exudes.

To teach others what you know, so that they can do it for themselves.

It starts here, @ home with a miniature spark.

4 thoughts on “Give a Pickle

  1. Just beautiful Maria. I’ve been reading a book called Braiding Sweetgrass by a Native American woman. The concept is the same. Nothing we “possess” belongs to us. Everything is to be shared – our food, our knowledge, our gardens ….
    It is so true. We belong to the Earth, and our knowledge belongs to everybody. I love that you share so generously!


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