Cousin Jane, and Beulah’s Pickle Recipe

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It’s been one year, today, since my Cousin Jane was brutally murdered in her home in Chattanooga. What a difficult year it has been for her family and friends, grappling with ideas of good and evil, and heaven and loss. Not a day goes by for those who loved her that they don’t think of her, with both sadness and fondness. So, like others who loved her, I have been dreading this day, and my heart has felt heavy all week.

But life goes on, whether we want it to or not. Bills to be paid, kids to feed, etc. I got a new iPhone this week, and I was cleaning out my email inbox before setting it up, and let’s just say I had emails saved from YEARS ago. I still had an email that Jane had sent me in November of 2009. My mom had told me that the pickles I’d made were okay, but that I needed to get the recipe for her Aunt Beulah’s pickles from Jane; Beulah’s bread and butter pickles were just the best, said Mom. So, I had emailed Jane, and she had promised to send me the recipe, and sure enough she did.

pickles

When you layer the cucumber, onion and bell pepper, I usually sprinkle with a little of the canning salt and a layer of ice, ending with ice on top. You will quickly get your fill of slicing the cucumbers. If you run low on syrup, just whip up some more, maybe cutting the recipe in half. 2 ½ cups of sugar and vinegar, etc. I usually clean my kitchen sink and put all the vegetables in it. Leave the drain open So, at the end of next summer, I expect a jar of pickles. Enjoy, Jane.

I can’t tell you how much I regret not making those pickles, and not taking a jar up to Jane in Chattanooga, and letting her try them, and having her tell me whether they tasted like Beulah’s. Jane and Beulah are gone now (hell, Beulah was gone long before I was born!), so I hope they won’t be mad at me for sharing the family recipe. I think I might make some this summer, and maybe get Tiller to help, then take a jar to my Mama and see if they taste right. I thought other folks, especially those who loved Jane, might have cucumbers coming in, and want to make some of Beulah’s Bread and Butter Pickles. If you do, say a little thank you to Jane and Beulah for sharing with us. I’m not sure why passing down recipes is comforting, but I do know that there is still good in the world and that I found Beulah’s pickle recipe in my inbox this week for a reason.

With Love and a few tears,
Annie

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10 comments

  • I have a cheesecake recipe from an aunt that I treasure. It’s in her handwriting and she wrote it down for me the last time I saw her. We both knew it was going to be the last time. She had a brain tumor, and so sometimes in her letters there would be gibberish in the middle of a sentence and the recipe is no different. For years I thought I was missing a vital step, so I went out and learned how to bake so that I could go back and realize, oh, that was the tumor talking in that section of the recipe.

    I had a conversation the other day with a chef friend about how we have food at every step of the life cycle, at births and funerals, we drop off meals to families, at milestones like graduations and anniversaries, we celebrate with food, so sharing recipes is really a way of keeping a spirit with us, escpecially when it’s hand written.

    As I read your recipe, it looked incredibly similar to the bread & butter pickle recipe I got from my mother. Turns out they are similar, with the exception of 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves.

    It really is THE BEST bread and butter pickle recipe ever. And it’s quite easy. I plan on using it in my canning & pickling classes this summer. I’m glad you found it. I hope it made your week a little easier to get through. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Thank you Anne for your beautiful heart and soul! My response is delayed and I wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. As I look at Mom’s picture and remember that great gathering at your home. It was the one where we were to bring some of the favorite family dishes! The picture and memory sends me in many directions.

    I think about all the food, lots of conversation, dynamics, bridge, Early Times and vodka, music, cigarette smoke (yuck!) doing the Bear Walk with Granny, laughter…oh just so much and did I mention the wonderful food…

    These were all the “ingredients” of our family gatherings. When you pulled all of it together it made a fine and fun recipe to be shared throughout our family. I am joyful when I think back on those times! We had a lot of fun, and probably got into a little trouble a long the way. Nevertheless, our childhood shared is something to make me smile in my heart…I will always have those memories-a gift, a blessing!

    Having family, sharing meals and memories, and making some new memories is a circle of life. We miss those we loved so deeply and I imagine our love will always be ever strong and present, and reflected with each other. The love is just one, and a most important “ingredient” in our family.

    So, now, thanks to you for posting this recipe for the pickles in your blog, I will remember fondly all those summer nights and holiday meals when a quart or pint mason jar would always be center on the dinner table. It just wouldn’t have been a meal without them. After you posted I ran downstairs and opened our fridge and guess what? I have a quart of Mom’s latest batch in the fridge.

    Today I am going out to get the ingredients for a batch of these pickles. I only hope I can do them justice. I have the jar in the fridge so I can do a comparison-I am sure I will have to do this over and over to get it where it needs to be. My thinking is, just start and try. Share them, tell the story, eat them with love!
    I will also be thinking of you as I remember all the sweetness of these pickles.

    Mom would delight in knowing you are carrying the recipie forward and sharing it with others. Thank you for also sharing your tender heart and precious heart! You’re right, It has been a difficult year! I am thankful for you and your entire family! I love you Anne!

    Love,
    Jennifer

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