Monday, August 16, 2010

WB Loves Refrigerator Pickles

I was born at night, but not last night.  May be a little slow on the uptake, and it did take me awhile to figure it out, but now I know without a doubt that if our routine goes sideways, we're in a pickle.

The Alzheimer's has created a routine monster out of me and that fits right in with the consistency necessary to keep things from totally getting off into the ditch. Same, same, same...over and over again. It may seem mundane, but I've learned the hard way, consistency is KING. I can nearly tie his episodes to veering off the path. Whether it was all of us being away from the house for several days and staying in a new place, Kate or I being away from the house for more than several hours at a time,  satellite dish not having a signal or particular telephone calls. Things like that.

WB wears the same thing every day. A pair of Wrangler blue jean carpenter shorts and a Guy Harvey T-Shirt. This was his daily summertime uniform when he worked and until just recently clogged around in a pair of flip-flops. Easy on, easy off. The only change to that has been the introduction last Fall of the camouflage green rubber Crocs and the newer pair of Crocs he received on Father's Day. The new shoe detail came about when he began to shuffle his feet. Shuffling and flip-flops were causing problems for him as sometimes he would just shuffle right out of them and right onto the floor. 

He also has two pair of prescription glasses and I have installed straps on both pairs. Some days he has me looking for glasses and he's got a pair on his head and the other pair around his neck. 

Then there is his wallet, his nose spray and the new $9.99 Timex digital watch with a velcro strap. Just recently he began having difficulty telling the time so I switched them out in the middle of the night after a late night jaunt to the Walmart. My excuse was that he could get this one wet and he accepted that. 

Oh, and he makes our bed every morning. Watches news shows after breakfast and medicine until mid-morning nap. Then lunch, another nap, then hunting and fishing shows in the afternoons. 

On a good day, that is his agenda.

However, there are certain things that will throw him off. We cannot run out of Blueberry Pop Tarts, or diet cola, we do not run out of Equate brand nose spray, mouth wash or denture cleaner and never ever run out of Aunt Dell's refrigerator pickles. On the pickle front, I have failed miserably.

Many of our friends have had them and they have become a staple for gifts. Jars do leave here and I find them in the refrigerators of many. 

The process of gathering the recipe and ingredients over the last week has WB antsy as there has been too much to tend to lately, the pickles have not been a priority for me, but we are completely OUT!

Like all families, great recipes are handed down through the generations. The 'Aunts' (My Gran and her sisters, Jean, Dell and Ella Rae) were all fabulous cooks. Aunt Jean was always on the ready to share her recipes, but those who know her witnessed her joy at always leaving out at least one ingredient. My favorite recipe of her's was the Pimento Cheese. My Gran could whip up any kind of cake, cookie or pie without a recipe.  Aunt Ella Rae made the best Divinity in the land, Aunt Dell's chicken enchiladas and white chocolate fudge have traveled all the way from central Texas and are now a part of many Alabama recipe boxes.

That said, I think its time to share Aunt Dell's pickle recipe. Actually, I have modified it as I double up the original recipe. When making, you might as well make plenty as they will store in the refrigerator forever. They perfectly compliment a turkey and mayonnaise sandwich on wheat.  But, WB just eats them straight out of the jar with everything.

Candied Dill Pickles - I double this recipe which quadruples Aunt Dell's original

2 gallons Kosher Dills (you can find these at Walmart for under $3 each)
8.5 pounds of sugar (that's a 5 lb bag and a half)
2 pts Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bottle Pickling Spice
10 Cloves of Garlic

Slice the pickles (and I slice them thick) and add all ingredients into a large covered container. Let sit at room temperature for 5 days. Stir twice a day. Then, put in jars and refrigerate. 

If you want to store in the large jars the Kosher dills came in, that's fine. I generally put them into Ball jars with lids and store in the fridge downstairs. 

In five days, WB will be in pickle heaven. He will be happy to have them and I will be happy he's happy.

My name is Rhonda Brantley. My husband, Billy Ray Brantley has Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia.

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