We asked these three families to share a cherished recipe that has been taken from the table to become a time-honored tradition in the family kitchen. Each started with a different take on family fare, but all of these stories and recipes have now become staples of a special time and place within each succeeding generation.
When Charlotte Calder Grumley Orlando learned to make bread and butter pickles this past summer, she was carrying on a four generation family tradition. Her great grandmother Frances Charlotte Calder Ezzell may not have originated the recipe, but she claimed it and made the pickles to perfection. She taught me (her daughter-in-law, Mary Louise Ezzell Katterjohn) who in turn taught my daughter, Juliette Ezzell Grumley, and now we are passing the secret to good pickles along to Charlotte.
In the 50's the ingredients had to be prepared by hand with nothing but a sharp knife and much patience, but with the advent of food processors, slicing a peck of cucumbers has been made much easier. Preparing the onions stll causes tears to be shed, however!
Making the pickles in the heat of summer is rewarded with dozens of jars to be opened and enjoyed later and passed on to special friends at Christmas.
A few years back, Mrs. Thomas Calder Ezzell, Jr. who lives in Roswell NM, entered a jar of the pickles in the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. It won a blue ribbon for pickles and a purple Best of Show!
Muh’s Bread and Butter Pickles
4 quarts sliced cucumbers
6 medium white onions, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup salt
5 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 shakes ground cloves
3 cups vinegar
Combine cucumbers, onions, garlic and peppers; add salt; cover with ice and let stand a minimum of three hours. Drain. Combine remaining ingredients and add cucumber mixture. Heat just to boiling. Ladle into pint jars, and seal with pinch of alum.
Yield: approximately eight pints