The Pickle Index is many things.
It’s a story about pickling and exchanging recipes and there’s also something about a circus. At least I think it is. What I do know for certain is The Pickle Index is completely ridiculous and also very ambitious and lives as both physical book-as-object and also crazy-digital-book-as-experience. You’ve got to love Eli Horowitz – carpenter turned McSweeneys Editorial Director turned wood cabin living entrepreneur – and Russell Quinn – digital powerhouse Englishman also living in the woods (I feel a theme coming on) – for having the chutzpah to dream up and make this book-cum-app-cum-recipe exchange at all.
The Pickle Index comes as a boxed edition with a fancy pants trick that lets you piece the two separate books together – lush large format illustrations become even more lush and larger when you place them alongside each other. Clever. There is abundant playfulness here, but there’s also something else: you are made aware, truly made aware, that this book is a physical object. So much so that it doesn’t really matter if this larger, more lush experience adds to our reading of the story because here we get to touch, feel, handle, have a play. And (to me at least) if you’re going to make an object (it can be any object, while we’re at it, it doesn’t even have to be a book) then you might as well make it something people want to spend time with and explore, sniff around its edges. You can even shoot high for permanence and make it a very beautiful keep-able object, which The Pickle Index certainly is (its makers tag it as ‘handsome’).