British piccalilli contains various vegetables—invariably cauliflower, onion, and gherkin—and seasonings of mustard and turmeric. A more finely chopped variety "sandwich piccalilli" is also available from major British supermarkets. It is used as an accompaniment to foods such as sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, cheese, and tomatoes. It is usually used to accompany a dish on a plate rather than as a bread spread. It is popular as a relish with cold meats such as ham and brawn, and with a ploughman's lunch. It is produced both commercially and domestically, being a traditional mainstay of Women's Institute and farmhouse product stalls.
An unsweetened variation of British piccalilli is found in Cyprus (including northern Cyprus). It is without baby onions, with a milder mustard sauce, and with the addition of carrot pieces. Piccalilli is known in Cyprus as πίκλα (pikla) – in Greek, and bıkla – in Turkish. It is served as a condiment, and occasionally as a meze dish.
In the Midwestern United States, commercial piccalillis are based on finely chopped gherkins; bright green and on the sweet side, they are often used as a condiment for Midwestern United States, commercial piccalillis are based on finely chopped gherkins; bright green and on the sweet side, they are often used as a condiment for Chicago-style hot dogs. This style is sometimes called "neon relish".
In the Southern United States, piccalilli is not commonly served. In its place, chow-chow, a relish with a base of chopped green (unripe) tomatoes is offered. This relish may also include onions, bell peppers, cabbage, green beans and other vegetables. While not exactly similar to other piccalillis, chow-chow is often called as such and the terms may be used interchangeably. Piccalilli is uncommon in the Western United States.
A far spicier variant of piccalilli comes from the former Dutch colony of Suriname, where traditional British piccalilli is mixed with a sambal made of garlic and yellow Madame Jeanette peppers. This piccalilli is often homemade but can also be bought in jars in Dutch corner shops. Whilst Surinamese piccalilli is similar in appearance to ordinary piccalilli, the taste is much spicier.
As a term fo
As a term for a mixed collection, piccalilli lends its name to several books of poems, for example, Piccalilli: A Mixture, by Gilbert Percy (1862), and Dilly Dilly Piccalilli: Poems for the Very Young (1989), by Myra Cohn Livingston. Mr Piccalilli is the name of a character in the children's book Mr Pod and Mr Piccalilli (2005), by Penny Dolan.
The semi-autobiographical book Vet In Harness (published in North America as All Things Bright And Beautiful) by James Herriot includes an amusing anecdote in which Herriot uses a particularly spicy piccalilli to help make an unsavory meal more palatab
The semi-autobiographical book Vet In Harness (published in North America as All Things Bright And Beautiful) by James Herriot includes an amusing anecdote in which Herriot uses a particularly spicy piccalilli to help make an unsavory meal more palatable and avoid offending his well-meaning hosts. This story was also published by Reader's Digest magazine (and several Herriot compilations) under the title "The Piccalilli Saves My Bacon".
Piccalilli receives an honorable mention in the Harry Champion song, "A Little Bit of Cucumber".
The song "Lily the Pink", recorded in 1968 by UK comedy group The Scaffold, includes a humorous reference to piccalilli when describing Lily's eventual demise, in the lyric "...and despite her medicinal compound, sadly Picca-Lily died". The song was based on an earlier folk song "the Ballad of Lydia Pinkham", which celebrated a herbal remedy invented by the eponymous heroine, marketed from 1876 as "Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound". The connection between piccalilli and the vegetable compound is in name only, as the recipes differ completely.
Arthur Rackham illustrated the old English story "Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar" and their home is labelled 'Piccalilli Cottage.'