Tastebud: Chowchow Down


A pickled, relish-like spread that’s served cold, chowchow is popular in Pennsylvania, Appalachia, the American Southwest, and the South—and with gardeners who have leftover vegetables from summer’s harvest on their hands. The indiscriminate condiment employs almost anything from the ground, from tomatoes and onions to peas and cabbage, and is slathered on biscuits, beans, and burgers or eaten alone. Whatever its contents and purposes, chowchow is almost always flavored with mustard seed and vinegar. The origins of chowchow are disputed: some argue that chou, the French word for cabbage, is the root of the American name. (Other historians trace chowchow to reported sightings of the chow chow breed of dog listed on 19th-century restaurant menus in China; word got back to America, and when China began shipping pickles to the West Coast, the name stuck.)

Comments (0)