Homemade ploughman's pickle with English cheddar. ©Ryan Schierling
I am not an Anglophile and I'm not across the pond, but I have been eating pickle and cheese sandwiches for a while now. I came by a jar of Branston® at a shop in Seattle in the late 90s, picked it up out of curiosity – one for me and one as a gift – and have been preaching the gospel of ploughman’s lunch ever since.
But I never, ever, ever thought to try and make pickle. It’s like making ketchup, or catsup, or whatever. It’s like making butter. It’s like making mayonnaise or mustard. So few hand-make the staples anymore, they just buy them at the grocer. This tart, sweet, "what-the-hell-should-I-do-with-this-mess?" condiment is not for everyone, but the Branston® traditional recipe has been the same for more than 90 years, and pickle fans are legion in the UK. It may be an acquired taste, though I also believe it's a very geographically-defined and refined taste.