So we think this is exceptionally cool, this fermentation craze we’re seeing all around us. From I’d-Swear-It’s-Homemade salsa to crunchy, sweet spicy, FABULOUS bread and butters, pickleness is all the rage in restaurants, and to that we say, “Woo hoo!”
According to http://www.fsrmagazine.com/new-concepts/7-innovations-highly-imaginative-restaurants?page=2, a Southern boy named Dan Latimer is one of the driving forces behind this trend of picking food in restaurants.
“… Latimer recalls pickling projects that resulted in jars of salsa stored in the basement of his home. Now, that same centuries-old food preservation technique is weaving its way into restaurants in novel, unexpected ways with fruits, vegetables, and even proteins.”
Dan is general manager of Husk, “a Southern cooking concept with locations in Charleston, South Carolina, and Nashville,” and in the summertime Husk actually orders whole beans and tomatoes “by the bushel so they can pickle the products and use them throughout the year.”
This is an industrious bunch, this Husk. “’In the midst of winter, we can reach into the cupboard for a taste of summer,’ says Latimer… who’s pleased to inject pickling into salads, soups, entrées, and even cocktails featuring pickled ingredients from ramps and berries to grapes and shrimp.’” Good on ya, Husk!
Of course we have our favorite pickly memories, some of which involve palatable items and some, like the questionable chow-chow someone’s grandmother had sitting on a shelf, that had grown fur. But we digress. Pickling is, as history lessons tell us, just about as old as eating.
The practice of preserving food through fermentation started thousands of years ago in the Middle East, where folks continue to eat pickled food items at practically every meal. Asia has its kimchi, fermented ginger and radish, and regions in Africa have garri and injera.
Here in this country we’re sort of new to the party, that furry chow-chow notwithstanding. But as more and more research is done on the benefits of fermented food and its probiotic attributes, restaurants are getting hip and adding pickles and pickled items to their menus. We like.