Pickles Steeped in Kool-Aid? Oh, Yeah!

Mississippians living in the Delta love their pickles – and now they're cooler than ever. Beverly Boddie, a shop owner in Cleveland, Miss., marinates hers in Kool-Aid. She talks about the origin of her recipe for "pickools" with Jacki Lyden.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

JACKI LYDEN, host:

The people of the Mississippi Delta have taken a commonly preserved food to new heights or lows depending on your taste buds. We're talking here about pickles steeped in Kool-Aid. That's right - Kool-Aid.

Beverly Boddie sells them like mad at her store in Cleveland, Mississippi, and that is, of course, in the Mississippi Delta. She's at the Eastend Grocery there, and she's on the line.

Ms. BEVERLY BODDIE (Owner, Eastend Grocery, Cleveland, Mississippi): Hi. How are you doing?

LYDEN: I'm doing fine. Thanks. So first I want to know what you call these treats?

Ms. BODDIE: We call them pickools.

LYDEN: Pickools. I like that title. What do they look like?

Ms. BODDIE: Well, we have some that are red, blue and green.

LYDEN: And they kind of look to me like - I saw a picture of them - sort of almost like balloons, although they still have the pebbly surface of a pickle.

Ms. BODDIE: They are soaked in Kool-Aid so then you let them soak for about three days and then they will turn to color of what you want them - one that looks like the Kool-Aid you're using.

LYDEN: How do they taste?

Ms. BODDIE: They taste - well, it's (unintelligible) which one you buy. If you get a dill, it's going to be sweet but you can still taste the pickle in it. And if you get the Sour, you're going to taste the sour and the Kool-Aid. I have several different cans. I make Dill, Sour and Hot Dill. Hot Dill adds a little spice to it.

LYDEN: So do people of all ages eat them or are they mostly favored by kids?

Ms. BODDIE: People of all ages eat them.

LYDEN: How did this get started, this whole idea? I mean, I can't imagine mixing pickles with Kool-Aid anymore than I can, I don't know, peanut butter with sardines, I guess, you'd have to say. Is it been around?

Ms. BODDIE: It's been around for a while. You know when we were kids here, they also - we would pick holes in the pickles and pour Kool-Aid inside the pickle, just the powder. You know, pour the powder inside the pickles and we will eat it like that. And then we just, you know, develop this a little farther than that down here to make a Kool-Aid and let the pickle soak in it.

LYDEN: You mentioned that you have Sour, Dill and Hot Dill. Does everybody have their own sort of twist on the recipes?

Ms. BODDIE: I believe so but I think mine tastes the best.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: That's why we called you.

Ms. BODDIE: I just have my version and I do it by taste. And if I like it, I figured that other people will like it. So I know some people that make theirs too sweet. I have some customers coming in to say that mine will always be just right.

LYDEN: Now are you going to tell us how you make them or is that a carefully guarded secret?

Ms. BODDIE: Carefully - very carefully guarded secret.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: All right. Well, I imagine sugar coming in there somewhere.

Ms. BODDIE: Yeah, it's coming in there somewhere.

LYDEN: All right. Best of luck in your Kool-Aid pickle business. Beverly Boddie is the owner of the Eastend Grocery in Cleveland, Mississippi. Thanks so much.

Ms. BODDIE: All right. Thank you. Bye-bye.

LYDEN: Now even though Ms. Boddie wouldn't share her recipe with us. In the interest of journalistic responsibility, it was decided we had to taste that cherry dill. And as today's host of the program, I have been elected unanimously. And so a couple of days ago, our producer Brakkton Booker mixed up a batch, winging(ph) our own recipe - a bottle Kosher Dills…

(Soundbite of bottle)

LYDEN: A few packets of Cherry Kool-Aid, about a quarter sugar…

(Soundbite of water)

LYDEN: …and what? A handful of thumbs, right? No. I'm just kidding on that one. So it's fermented or become more divine in the last few days, and I am now opening the jar.

(Soundbite of jar opening)

LYDEN: This jar of pickles is indeed bright red, a little bloated, a little warty looking, probably as red as I thought they'd be. All right, here it goes.

(Soundbite of chewing)

LYDEN: I would say they taste like a sweet pickle, Brakkton. Maybe we need Ms. Boddie's recipe because this is a little - it's a little underwhelming, but very crunchy, very red.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.