Thursday, 26 March 2009

Pickled Tink

I recently read a personal essay by a woman who wrote that she felt the most feminine she ever felt when she was breast feeding her baby. This got me thinking about my own sense of femaleness and when I feel the most feminine I can feel.

My first thought was when I am with PJ and although I like this answer (and proximity), I am striking it from the record because I am looking for an answer that is just to do with myself and not in relation to another.

But maybe that's impossible, because a large part of my feelings about my femaleness feel constructed and composed; learnt and not innate.

I am Meg, and although I am obviously female, I don't live my every day cognisant of my gender. Or maybe I do but it's so ingrained in my self that I'm not conscious of it.

And so, I have started keeping a list of times when I feel conscious of my femaleness. On that list is when I was pickling our homegrown cucumbers two weeks ago. (And yes, I can see the irony of the phallic cucumbers.)

Readers of this blog will know I don't own a single cook book and that I like to roam google's hallways in search of a recipe to follow. But for my cucumbers it was different. My friend Jo lent me some cook books including Stephanie Alexander's book of her mum's recipes, which is where I found the one I based my pickling concoction on. 

I know men who pickle and preserve, but when I did it, I felt connected to a whole history of women, including my dad's mum, Nanna Jo-Jo, who was a fabulous pickler.

Also, because pickling was once, and still is in many parts of the world, an act of preserving produce for out-of-season months and long journeys, there is an element of vitality added to the recipe; the survival and preservation of a people, and along with them, their time-honoured ways.

4 comments:

The Garden of Self Defence said...

You're handling that cucumber so majestically. Mmm.

Petrus Spronk said...

a jar of pickled anything is greatly satisfying and lives up there with making bread and cooking your daily meal, such privilige

Ana said...

This reminds me of my Great Gramma Ella who taught me to make dill pickles when I was about 8. I still think of her when I smell fresh dill.

Meg said...

Hey Ana,

Do you still have your Great Gramma Ella's recipe? I'd love to try it. xx