Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Foodtrainers Find: McClure's

A few weeks ago I was sick. I am rarely sick but I was in bed and miserable. And though most people wouldn’t be watching the Food Network in that condition, I am not most people and I was. My distraction came in the form of a DVRed episode of one of my favorite shows “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”  On this show, chefs and food personalities describe their favorite food from a certain topic. I think the topic for this show was “snack foods” though I’m not certain. I will warn you though that many of the foods described are far from healthy and the manner in which they are described makes you want all of them.

About halfway through the episode, Ted Allen came on the screen. He selected McClure’s pickles as his favorite snack. He explained the recipe for these pickles had been in the family for generations. He gushed about the perfect amount of crunch in these pickles. And then he sealed the deal for me by mentioning that these pickles come regular garlic/dill and SPICY! Suddenly I paused the TV, jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to the kitchen. “What are you looking for?” my husband who had not seen me, due to my self-imposed quarantine, in hours asked. “I am looking for pickles.” Now I knew there were no McClure’s to be had but was fairly certain we had pickles. My 7 year olds favorite “fruit” as he says (child of a nutritionist knows cucumbers are no vegetable) is pickles. And we had pickles! I pulled the lid off a container of Fresh Direct half-sour pickles and unfortunately saw one lonely pickle well past its prime. Yuck.

Ignoring my illness, I went to my computer and found the McClure’s website. I eagerly clicked the “BUY” button and was faced with disappointment again. I needed to purchase 12 jars of pickles for delivery. Holy pickles! I took a risk and emailed McClure’s to ask if they could make an exception for a local nutritionist with MANY pickle-purchasing clients. Within minutes I received a reply! Sadly, it was an away message and Bob McClure was out of the country. I closed my laptop and returned to bed.

The next day another email came. This one was from Bob (Mr. Pickle) himself. Bob said they would deliver any number of jars but it would have to wait until the following Friday. I ordered some regular pickles, I ordered some SPICY pickles, the relish for the husband and the Bloody Mary Mix because in my relentless (ok obsessive) searching saw it was written up in the New York Times and made with pickle juice (sounded like the Dirty Martini’s cousin). Friday came and I was frantically trying to tie up loose ends in the office. The doorman buzzed and was holding a package. In the days since my email with Bob, I had forgotten about the pickles but one look at the box instantly remembered.

I took a jar of the regular and a jar of the spicy and added them to the enormous tote of food/water and other items I feel we need for a simple car ride to Vermont. I would wait to try these prized pickles with the family. We picked the kids up and I held up a jar for the pickle-lover to see. “Look what Mom has?” I am sure a normal child from a normal mother would be less than pleased with pickles as an afterschool snack. Not my boy! His big blue eyes lit up and he said “I want one now!” My husband, ever the practical one, said “I don’t think that’s a good idea while we drive.” Well the impractical one was holding the pickles and wasn’t waiting any longer. I handed out pickles to the pickle-lover and his brother. I handed one to my husband who didn’t decline and I took one from the jar for myself. The only sound was crunching (yes Ted, just the right amount), we took seconds and spilled pickle juice in the process. It was one of the best things I ever ate. Once in Vermont, I cracked open the Spicy and may have to declare it THE BEST THING I EVER ATE.

What are your favorite snacks? Are you a pickle person?


  1. Thank you Lauren for reminding me to reinvest in my love of pickles. Wonder if Fairway has them....but truth be told..I am eating one of the best things i ever ate right now, this afternoon...mostly becuase I made this snack with my 8 year old. Sweet, sticky, homemade rice krispie treats on a rainy day. And they're extra sweet because he told me "this is the best thing I ever ate Mom!"

  2. Bloody mary mix with pickle juice? Yes please! These sound wonderful. I am going to order some tonight.

  3. Wendy - Please let me know if Fairway has them... my family LOVES Pickles. We are always looking for yummy, healthy treats. Peanut butter and apple are big in our house too these days. Plus, it is grapefruit and orange season. YUM!!!

  4. from bob:
    On the upper west side I think only Williams Sonoma carries them but they are all over the city -- Murray's, Chelsea Market Baskets, Bowery Whole Foods, Zabars on the east side.

    Note***foodtrainers may soon have them

  5. Love McClure's! We used to get them at the Brooklyn Flea -- I am not sure if they are still there. We haven't gone to the Flea since we moved but will definitely be making a trip this weekend -- thanks for the reminder :) On the healthy snack front, we froze banana slices today and the kids gobbled them down. (Sometimes we put peanut butter on the frozen slices.) My six year old says that it tastes like ice cream. (I agree!)

  6. Yum. I might have to talk to you about these pickles on Monday. Great pickle post!

  7. Those pickles are freaking fabulous, especially the spicy ones. We always have a jar or two in the house and send them to people as gifts. Great find!

  8. Late to the game on this...but - I have been obsessed with pickles since I was a child. My mother would find me in the afternoon eating from a jar of pickles AND drinking the juice (I still love it, but refrain).

    McClure's are to die for. Readily accessible at Murray's Cheese in the Grand Central Market by the way :)