"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.