In New York City, where I was born, half-sour pickles and pickled green tomatoes grace every table at every delicatessen for every meal, including breakfast. My grandmother made the world's best pickled lox. A friend's grandmother made pickled eggs, and pickled beets.
I never felt the urge to pickle anything until, back in the 1990s, I acquired a used copy of The Victory Garden Cookbook. The book is organized by vegetable — clever! — so I began to flip through: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, celery. And then I arrived at cucumbers, with the most beautiful photograph of perfect little Kirbys floating in an antique glass Planters Peanuts jar, enveloped by fresh dill weed, cloves of garlic, and pickling spice.