62. According to Reay Tannahil, author of Food in History, that is how many pickle and sauce chefs one could expect to find in the royal kitchens of 2nd Century BC China. 128 day to day chefs, 128 special events chefs, 335 grain, fruit and vegetable chefs, 162 master dieticians and 62 pickle and sauce chefs.
The Chinese weren’t the only royals who treasured their pickles. Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, believed that a pickle-heavy diet was critical to maintaining her beauty.
Even the most cucumber-friendly among us might find beauty pickles and a 60+ chef detail a bit excessive. Not so, Chris Hobson and Scott Kaylin. These two Vancouverites have heard about the hardships people will endure to secure a good pickle. Hobson and Kaylin bemoaned the lack of high quality pickles in our city, the type of pickles that Kaylin could find easily in his native New York.
Kaylin and Hobson went back to New York to hunt down the best pickle makers they could find. Seven months ago, they opened a Kaylin & Hobbs stand in Granville Island with a range of crunchy, delicious pickles that includes: Mustard, Horseradish, Half Sour, Full Sour and Kosher Dill. ‘New York Taste. West Coast Vibe.’
People hover about the stand, intrigued but not sure they can be enticed by a pickle sample. But, once they have dipped a toothpick into one savoury slice, they are reaching for more toothpicks and more flavours. Kaylin and Hobbs had to double their production last spring as they kept selling out.
Two of our favourite flavours? Jalapeño and waffle-cut Sweet Reds. The person ahead of us in line was raving about Mustard and Horseradish. Really, it’s impressive how distinct all of the pickle flavours are.
Make room on the vanity, and man your stations, royal chefs, your pickle dish options have opened right up.
Written by Elizabeth Newton
Cleopatra’s Feast. Jacob Jordaens. 1653