Hero Cabbage

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"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -

Of cabbages - and kings -

And why the sea is boiling hot -

And whether pigs have wings."

From Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter.

And this week we have the King of Cabbages - the Savoy Cabbage.

Cabbage is a vegetable with a long history, vast lore, and umpteen

uses. One of the many varieties in family Brassica, in the 1500s Savoy

became know as a loose-headed variety called Chou de Savoy for the

French province it hailed from. Crinkled and wrinkled, it is one of

the mildest of the cabbages and the one highest in beta-carotene.

Cabbage is so versatile, hold a head in your hands and think:

Simmered? Sauteed? Rolled? Stuffed? Shredded or eaten raw? What'll it

be? So many ways to prepare it, it’s no wonder it fed all of

Europe for centuries.

It is unwise to overcook cabbage. Overcooking releases sulfur odors

that may turn folks off. The addition of celery, or in the German

tradition - caraway seeds, is a fine compliment as well. To use the

leaves for stuffing, bop the spine of the leaf with the heavy handle

and slip the whole leaf in salty simmering water. Cook for a few

minutes till tender. Dry off on a towel and you have a great roll up

for leftovers or rice.


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