This week’s welcome to the insta-hood is on @hampickles
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“Well, I’m not the very best at talking about myself. I’ve actually come to envy people who are able to, because I struggle whenever getting to know someone or disclosing information about myself. My social anxiety makes me feel like the other person is thinking I’m “full of myself” or “talking too much“ even if I personally don’t even think what’s being said is that interesting. I digress. A little about me would be that I’m from Brooklyn, NY born and raised. Like many I come from a mixed family so I at times have a different perspective from growing up in that culture. And that of an American, one instilled in me as I grew up. I have a background in marketing and sales and about 10 years experience working in industry, as well as various other jobs. I also very much enjoy writing. I think almost anything that’s created by people for the sake of “creating” is to be considered art, I believe no person is greater than another for any reason whatsoever, and I believe the earth is round.”
2. What made you interested in pursuing cooking?
“My interest in cooking stemmed from My mother. Hands down. I was the youngest and the only “boy” so as my sisters were living their lives and or avoiding their “annoying little brother “ I would help my mom in the kitchen. Watching her was always an experience and how she could turn almost nothing into something, while also always knowing the right amount to put into a dish and seldom having to take a look at a recipe. As I grew older I came to realize that I wanted to be a chef. What kind I did not know , but I knew I loved food and that was more than enough. I started out as a dishwasher because I was “too young” to work the line , and one day the chef hands me a knife and tells me to start peeling potatoes. From there the rest is history. (I wish emojis were considered “professional”)”
3. What made you interested in pickling foods? Can you explain the process of how you do it?
“What got me interested in pickling foods is that you really can’t find a restaurant that doesn’t have some kind of pickled item on their menu, and that’s a good thing, well you can but it’s rare. So over COVid lockdown I had the idea to use my best bud Ham (my dog) as the logo and started a small batch pickling “hobby” so to say.
Pickles have been apart of our society and the worlds culture for over 4,000 years. It’s a great form of preservation. Because of it we’re able to enjoy our favorite vegetables year round and depending on how you pickle, you’re even able to continue to get nutrients from them. Pickles served a great function years ago and for many people even today by making it so that you could store copious amounts of vegetables passed their expiration times and be able to provide for your family in those hard winters, or when foraging and harvesting wasn’t as fruitful as it needed to be.
My process of pickling is a slightly different version of the usual “cold pickling” method used by many people. I choose the cold pickling method because you can retain a lot more natural water and sugar inside of the vegetables or fruits you decide to use. Said ingredients tend to stay a lot more firm and crisp over time giving you the lasting crunch that we tend to like in a pickle. If you go with the hot pickling method for a faster pickle I’ve found that it isn’t as appealing to me as the cold but still a very viable and accurate method. I also later incorporate fresh herbs and oil and even sometimes honey into my mixtures as to offer a sense of vibrancy Whenever the jar is opened. By doing so before I seal the jars I create a sort of vacuum that continues to season and heighten the flavor long after the pickling process is finished.”
4. What foods do you usually recommend if someone’s wants the season fall on a plate and why?
“If I was to recommend some food to create the season fall on a plate , I’d definitely go with some of my favorite classic pairings. Sage-brown buttered butternut squash purée ,pan seared chicken or turkey (for those who are vegan or vegetarian this dish works just as well without the meat ) basted with Butter, garlic, shallots and a very little bit of rosemary and thyme and some spiced Granny Smith apples with thinly sliced partially charred celery root. Everything about this dish screams fall, from the comforting Silky smooth purée , to the basted bird reminiscent of the fast approaching American holiday “thanksgiving” not to mention the spiced apples and celery root are a great accompanying element to really make you feel like someone shoved the essence of fall in your face. “