A nice piece in the NYT about pickles, and how, back in the day, well-meaning social reformers tried to get immigrant kids to put down that pickle and pick up a wholesome bowl of creamed fish and applesauce:
“the spices in it are bad, the vinegar is a seething mass of rottenness ... and the poor little innocent cucumber ... if it had very little ‘character’ in the beginning, must now fall into the ranks of the ‘totally depraved.’ ”
The author, Jane Zieglman, evidently has a jawn called 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, the which seems like it might be a good read. Also, the anti-pickle movement seems related to the a broader 19th c effort to have pure American foodstuffs that are free of degenerate Semitic influences.
Also, the eventual triumph of the dill pickle makes the Cod wonder if one might be able to map some sort of national gustatory aesthetic that marks the assimilation of various races. A dill pickle is unlikely to elicit shock and horror fom your lunchmates in the average American lunchroom, but it's not hard to find folks today who talk about kimchi the way they talked about pickles back in the day. Be patient, Korea!