The blogosphere is filled with talented people. These Pickled Shrimp prove that. Great food is full of meaningful associations. These Pickled Shrimp prove that too.
It’s a recipe that comes from my friend and blogger Lynn Marie Gray of Bijouxs: Little Jewels from the Kitchen. But it’s also a recipe strangely attached to my childhood. Though it wasn’t something I ever ate as a kid.
The version I present here is Lynn’s. She has a new eCookbook that anyone with an interest in food blogs will enjoy. New technology has opened the doors to a new frontier of published media– and that technology makes it easier than ever to enjoy the work of talented cooks. I think eBooks are going to play a larger and larger role in how we consume information. So I am pleased to say both of my (old-school) books (Savory Pies 2012 and Savory Cocktails 2013) are available in electronic form. I also regularly contribute to the Foodie eBooks which are available here for a free download.
My favorite part about eBooks is how easily you can get inside a favorite cook’s head and learn more about her or him. Lynn’s eBook is filled with elegant recipes. As well it should. Lynn’s food has a casual elegance that is unmistakably– her. The photographs she presents in her eBook (as well as on her blog and for Pasadena Magazine) match her culinary aesthetic perfectly too. Making this book a pleasure to view.
However beyond great recipes and artful photography this “little jewel” has tasty stories to tell. Because food says so much about how we all live. Lynn’s eBook immediately brought a story from my own past to life. Which I couldn’t help recalling when I spied her version of Pickled Shrimp.
I’m a big fan of Pickled Shrimp. They remind me of my own mother and her culinary story.
2012 Château Petit Roubié Picpoul de Pinet
Pairs well with oysters, seafood, shellfish, charcuterie, cheese and (surprisingly) chocolate
After my mom passed away, my brother sat down at the computer and took it upon himself to gather as many recipes from her collection as he could and put them into a cookbook of sorts. This was way before blogs or eBooks, but the concept is exactly the same. A creative collection of highly personal recipes that can be made easily available.
I’ll always cherish my mother’s collection of recipes, and having them in book form gave me such an extra insight into her way of looking at the foods she loved. Having this book now proves to me that my mom knew a heck of a lot more about food than merely being the person who filled the bellies of three ungrateful eaters night after night.
Her vast collection of eclectic recipes shows me that my mother was well read and had a sophisticated palate. She was at the front end of American housewives branching out into classical French cooking styles at home. My mother had strong attachments to culinary cities like San Francisco and New Orleans. I remember my parents traveling to these cities and I remember my mother coming home and talking about the food.
I chose this Pickled Shrimp recipe from Lynn’s eBook because I imagine it might have been something my mother would have enjoyed on one of these culinary adventures. It’s easy to conjure up visions of her, freshly arrived home, with excitement to recreate the food she sampled on her journey. I say imagine because I don’t really know for sure. But in my mind when I see this recipe, it tells me a story of New Orleans. I think of hot, lazy afternoons on the verandah, slurping down a few of these vinegary shrimp with a cold beer or maybe a golden-hued glass of wine (such as the Château Petit Roubié Picpoul de Pinet that Ken chose to pair with Lynn’s Pickled Shrimp recipe).
I don’t know if my mother ever did any of these things. But there’s a Pickled Shrimp recipe very similar to Lynn’s in the collection of recipes my brother put together.
See what I mean about story? Lynn’s recipe and eBook unlocked that memory for me in a beautiful way. I wish my mom had shared her version of this recipe with me when she was alive. I’d love to know what inspired her to create or recreate it. What influences had she been following? Did she indeed slurp these as I imagine on some verandah in the French Quarter? Or did she come across this recipe (or some near version of it) in her armchair travels with her beloved Gourmet magazine. I’ll never know. But it brings great comfort to realize cooks like Lynn are keeping recipes like this alive. Recipes that tell stories. GREG