A month earlier, in search of the roots of this iconic New York City food, I'd visited United Pickle, a fourth-generation family pickle factory in the Tremont section of the Bronx, founded in 1897 "with a horse and wagon." United also owns the trademark brand Guss' Pickles, one of the Lower East Side sidewalk-barrel vendors of the early twentieth century, featured in the film Crossing Delancey and on countless walking tours through the 1990s. Most important, however, United holds the rights to Guss' secret thirteen-spice recipe, passed down over more than a century.
|Image courtesy of United Pickle|
The factory smells tangy and prickly: like garlic, brine, dill, and spices, evoking the sawdust and chrome of old-school New York City delis like Eisenberg's. People think that milk and pickles don't mix, but the building used to be a Borden milk factory; today brine rather than milk drenches the historic cobblestone floors.