Super Southern Pickles
I'd like to think I've inherited a slight Southern dra-aawl after spending the past three days in Birmingham, Alabama, researching our sixth installment of "Food & Wine Across America." Now that I'm firmly ensconced back into my real life up North, I'm finding myself missing the sing-song lilt of voices—as well as all the charming names I came across. On seeing my first Piggly Wiggly supermarket, I remembered the scene from Driving Miss Daisy, in which Daisy commands her driver, Hoke, to "Take me to the Piggly Wiggly!" As my own (hotel shuttle driver) shuffled me around town, he gave me a running account of his favorite barbecue joints:
"I go to JimmyNicks (proper name: "Jim 'N Nicks"), JimmyNicks, JimmyNicks, then when I get sick of JimmyNicks, I go to Dreamland, Dreamland, Dreamland. Then it's back to JimmyNicks, JimmyNicks, JimmyNicks."
Aside from Piggly Wiggly and Jim 'N Nicks, I found myself delighted by another name: Wickles pickles (whose tagline is "wickedly delicious pickles"). Scott Jones, a one-time F&W staffer, and now the executive editor of Southern Living magazine, turned me on to these thickly cut, supercrunchy pickles, made in nearby Dadeville. Packed with red peppers and garlic and soaked in sugary cider vinegar, Wickles pickles have just the right sweet-sour-spicy kick that would have won me over whatever its name.