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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

World Cabbage Day: In Praise of Cabbage

I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows --
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?
Anonymous
Ladies' Cabbage

Today is World Cabbage Day! I can "see" that grin on your face. I know what you're thinking. Oh no, not another food day. But wait, cabbage is not just another food. Cabbage is many different morsels that are all derived from the leafy wild mustard plant. The common forms are classified by the plant parts used for food: leaves (e.g., kale, collard, spring greens, Brussels sprout); flowers and flower stalks (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower); and stems (e.g., kohlrabi, "cabbage turnip") The dense core of the cabbage is called the babchka and it is related to the turnip. Yep, one big happy cruciferae family! It is said that cabbage makes its home in the cruciferae family because the flowers of the plant have four petals arranged as a cross.

"Society expects every man to have certain things in his garden. Not to raise cabbage, is as if one had no pew in church."
~The Pilgrim Cook Book~ ©1895

Let’s sidestep for a moment. Did you know the Old English name for February was "Sprout-Kale" or "Sprouting Cabbage Month”, since cabbage often begins to sprout in the garden this time of year. It seems February has been known by quite a few names through the ages. The Anglo-Saxons called the month of February “Sol-monath” (cake month), because cakes were offered to the gods during the second month

…Whether Solmonath was the Mud Month, the Earth Month, the Sun Month or the Plough Month doesn't really matter. Bede tells us something even more interesting about it:

Solmonath can be called "month of cakes", which they offered to their gods in that month.
--Bede, in The Reckoning of Time, Chapter 15. Translated by Faith Wallis.

The reference to cakes is reminiscent of an Old English charm for making a field fertile, the Aecerbot or Field Remedy. The charm survives written down in a manuscript dating from the tenth or eleventh century, though it may well be derived from a much older tradition.

Take then each kind of flour and have someone bake a loaf [the size of] a hand's
palm and knead it with milk and with holy water and lay it under the first
furrow. Say then:
Field full of food for mankind,
bright-blooming, you are blessed
in the holy name of the one who shaped heaven
and the earth on which we live;
the God, the one who made the ground, grant us the gift of growing,
that for us each grain might come to use.
--Aecerbot, translated by Karen Louise Jolly--

Just in case you’re interested, I happened upon the other names of the Saxon Months: (unfortunately, I don’ remember where this came from but I’m pretty sure I found it in an 1800s garden book)

Names of Saxon Months | Months of Edible Celebrations

I actually thought today’s post was going to be fairly simple. I was just going to wish the world a Happy Cabbage Day, dig up a few recipes and be on my merry way. Then I got curious. I wonder what the The Gold Cook Book by Master Chef Louis P. De Gouy has to say about cabbage, I said to myself. Apparently, quite a bit. (he was, after all, ”…A prolific author, he wrote sixteen cookbooks on numerous topics — each encyclopedic, filled with amazing histories of food, stories of the food world and inspirational recipes…

”This good peasant, honored in the rustic marmit, is certainly the most popular and the most healthful of the vegetable kingdom. For three centuries, Rome knew no other medicament than the cabbage, and did not feel the worse. Cabbage is indigenous to Europe, but today its robust odor perfumes almost all kettles in the world. Numerous and colorful is its family: green, white, yellow, violet, red, curled, round-headed, fringed cabbages, Milan or Savoy cabbage, sea kale, rapecolewort, palm cabbage, collard, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and many others…

Cabbage the old warrior, is ever on hand for a gastronomic emergency. The Romans and Greeks used this budget vegetable as moderns do the “prairie oyster” and the Turkish bath, to pull their world back together with the morning after the night before. In Egypt cabbage was considered to be an antidote for overindulgence in wine. Athaneus, gossip and epicure, once wrote: “The Egyptians…are the only people among whom it is a custom at their feasts to eat boiled cabbage before all the rest of their foods.” And if we quote Eulubus: “Wife, quick, some cabbage boil of virtues, that I may rid me of this seedy feeling.” Apicius, the epicure of ancient Rome, ranked cabbage with the tongues of flamingoes as a rare dish. Cato really thought that cabbage could cure almost everything, and said that Rome, because it possessed plenty of them, could expel all physicians. But Peter the Great of Russia forbade his army, navy, and other officials to eat cabbage or cabbage soup lest the become “cabbage heads.”

You see why I just had to share the chef’s sentiments with you? Imagine the importance in being ranked as rare as the “tongues of flamingoes”? (I wonder if that’s why cabbage is associated with money?) And heavens forbid we all become “Cabbage Heads!”

Cabbage | Ambrose Bierce
…De Gouy was the head chef at the Waldof-Astoria, and Peel says he thinks his book rivals the Larousse Gastronomique, the encyclopedic bible of French cooking. Of The Gold Cookbook, Peel says, "everything is in it, almost 2500 recipes. It's very old school in style but clearly written…The Chef’s Library; LA Weekly

This 1950 edition of De Gouy’s book includes 13 recipes for cabbage! (not to mention that ode to cabbage at the top of the page:) I was lucky to find one or two recipes in most of my other books and none were as “colorful” as the sampling of the two below; Cabbage a la Bretonne and this German Red Cabbage recipe. (I had a bit of a time trying to get a good scan, the book is so pudgy:)

Cabbage a la Bretonne | Louis P. DeGouy

The testaments to the benefits of cabbage are insurmountable! I got myself in such a tizzy over them, I just had to include a smidgen of what’s out there.

Cabbage Remedies

So, I made this:) Yes, I know it’s amateurish but, I’m sure it’s good enough for a little chuckle:)

Cabbage Graphic

In my pursuit of all things cabbage, and believe me, that quest encompassed cabbage antidotes, folk lore, old time remedies and even a cabbage face mask, I kept running across a recipe for a dish called Ladies’ Cabbage. Most times it was shared in a vintage recipe book with no explanation as to the name. By chance, and I mean by sheer coincidence, I happened to move Larry Forgione’s An American Place ©1996 from one of the bookshelves in order to get at another book. Just for the heck of it, and because I have never shared its contents with you, I paged to the index to see if there were any out of the ordinary recipes containing cabbage. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a recipe for the elusive Ladies’ Cabbage with an explanation.

Ladies Cabbage | Larry Forgione

For the final recipe, let’s go to Tennessee for some Creole Cabbage from the Chilhowee Inn.

Creole Cabbage | Chilhowee Inn

Thank you for spending time with me for World Cabbage Day. I hope this post inspires you to think of cabbage in a whole new light. If you are celebrating World Cabbage Day, be sure and leave your link in the comment section. I know for sure John @KitchenRiffs is celebrating! Just take a look at his Vegan Mulligatawny Soup with Cabbage! Don't forget to check out my Cabbage Day Pinterest board:) If you would like to pin to the cabbage family board, just let me know and I'll figure out how to add you:)


I’ll be back next Wednesday to celebrate National Tortilla Day with The Well Filled Tortilla Cookbook. Louise:)

Well Filled Tortilla

Resources
1. Facts About February
2. Of Cabbage and Celts









61 comments:

  1. at the risk of oversharing, cabbage is, how can i put this delicately, not so nice to my digestive tract. i hardly ever eat it because of that, and i regret that immensely!

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    1. I understand what you are saying, Grace. I have a belly problem when I go overboard snacking on roasted brussels sprouts. They taste like candy but oh goodness my belly most definitely knows the difference:) They say to start with baby bites first so your belly adjusts. I haven't tried it yet:)

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  2. My mom used to overcook cabbage, so as I kid I really didn't like it. Not even in coleslaw -- it was only when I tasted coleslaw made with celery seed that I started warming up to it. And really started to like it when I first had it with an oil/vinegar based dressing (I like the creamy mayo kind, but give me oil and vinegar every day!) Fun post -- thanks. And I'm celebrating World Cabbage Day today, too! :D

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    1. I have a coleslaw story too, John. As you know, I LOVE mayonnaise, however, coleslaw was a no no for me not liking it made with mayo. The first time I really enjoyed coleslaw was when I made it with pineapple yogurt, it changed my mind! Now I'll have to try oil and vinegar, very interesting...Thanks for sharing, John...

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  3. Hi Louise , we love cabbage and this is a wonderful recipe . I found this post so full of information , didn't know the cabbage was called the poor man's medicine chest , I learned a lot about one of my favorite vegetables , thanks for sharing ... pinning , keep those toes wiggling and don't forget to shake those hips . Hugs to you and Marion :)

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    1. Wiggling away Nee! So glad you enjoyed this Cabbage Day post.

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  4. Hi dear Louise, How are you doing??
    Love cabbage and love these recipes, hugss!!! xoxoxo

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    1. We are doing just ducky, Gloria. It happens to be raining today but, we feel we would rather have rain than snow, lol...

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  5. My favorite thing about cabbage is a cut in the holiday movie "A Christmas Story": the camera goes from a shot of the toilet to a lid lifting to reveal a pot full of boiling cabbage.... (I guess you can tell I'm not much of a fan. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts make me much happier!)

    I'd also tell the cabbage not to be too smug because roses are full of vitamin C (or at least, rose hips are).

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    1. You are so right about Rose Hips, Poppy. I had forgotten about that, lol...I haven't seen that movie but if I ever do, I'll be on the look-out for the bloiling cabbage pot!

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  6. Dear Louise,
    WOW! You are amazing..I didn't know where to look first. Love the recipes and such great info about cabbage. Had no idea about the Saxon names of the month. It was fun looking up the months. Love cabbage and my mom used to make cabbage soup plus stuffed cabbage. I love the Creole Cabbage recipe from the Chilhowee Inn. Thank you so much for this informative info on "The Cabbage" Printed out some info...Have a wonderful rest of the week dear friend.Say hello to Marion and looking forward to next week's post National Tortilla Day!
    Hugs :) Dottie xx

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    1. I did get a bit carried away with this post, Dottie. But, I held myself back, lol...So glad you enjoyed it:)

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  7. Wow Louise, I had no idea that it was cabbage day today! I also didn't know all those wonderful things that cabbage does for us! I mean, I know that it is healthy and delicious, but I didn't know that it had so many "medical" uses. Thank you for sharing...this post is so interesting! A big hug dear friend, Mary

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    1. Hugs back, Mary! It seems cabbage is an all round goodie!!!

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  8. Hi Louise,
    Cabbage is our common and frequent stir-fry dish in the family. Sometimes I made a small tub of coleslaw too. Thanks for sharing and the interesting recipe Creole Cabbage. Will try it. Have a great weekend with Marion :)

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    1. I love stir fry cabbage dishes, Karen. Thank you so much for dropping by...

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  9. I love cabbage, I always loved it! I particularly liked the Creole cabbage recipe. I put it in my list! Thanks for sharing all the info and have a lovely rest of the week!

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    1. Thank you Katerina. I hope you get to try the Creole Cabbage recipe. It sounds so yummy:)

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  10. Hi, Louise!

    The Saxon months were fascinating and I’m making a note of the home remedies.
    I add sliced apples, brown sugar and vinegar when I cook either red or green cabbage as a side dish.
    Thanks for the ideas and recipes. I will never take cabbage for granted again :)
    All the best to you and Marion xox

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    1. Hi Margaret:)
      I had a feeling you would like the Saxon months. I thought about you when I found it:)

      That's a great combination for the cabbage side dishes. I'll have to remember that. Thanks!!!

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  11. Cabbage is the food of gods! I love it and I have it all winter. I love that list of home remedies. My grandmother used to put cabbage leaves on my belly when I was a child. She used to say that they would help with inflammation if you were ill.
    They have so many properties. A great article Louise!

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    1. Food of the Gods, perfect, Alida! Isn't it funny how the generations before us knew these little secrets. I have a slew of "home remedies" that I still use learned from previous generations. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Alida...

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  12. I love cabbage, both raw and cooked! That ladies cabbage sounds tasty---and I wouldn't have to share!

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    1. It does sound interesting doesn't it Liz? It even has a history!

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  13. Hi Louise,
    I love cabbage! However I do not have much luck in growing cabbages. Just when it starts to form its head, the plant will wilt and die! Maybe the weather over here are just too hot for it! But am not giving up, will try again!
    Have a great and delicious weekend!

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    1. Hi Joyce,
      I'm sorry you don't have luck with cabbage growing. I have found cabbage likes to grow in cooler weather. It also needs lots and lots of water. Maybe you should try growing it at the end of your Summer months. Good Luck, Joyce...

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  14. I love cabbage , it's cheap and easy to cook :D Usually use it in stir-fries , soups and slaw . I never knew cabage has medicinal uses!

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    1. I don't make stir fried cabbage as much as I probably should Anne. As you say, it is inexpensive and mighty good! Thanks so much for dropping by:)

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  15. I like the openkng poem you used. Cabbage and corned beef is one of my fave winter dishes.

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    1. Thanks Gaye. I was glad to share it:) It's almost corned beef and cabbage time, yippee!

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  16. what a fun post - I was most amused with the throwing the cabbage water down the sink - and your medicine graphic is very clever and amusing

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    1. Thanks Johanna, glad you enjoyed your visit:)

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  17. It is so good to know that there is a world's cabbage day ♥

    summerdaisy.net

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    1. Mark your calendar for next year, Summer:)

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  18. This is such a compact blog post Louise, I need to get myself a cuppa to go through it all. I didn't even know there was a World Cabbage Day. I'm still on the fence about cabbage, if its cooked a particular way I like it otherwise not so much.

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    1. Lol, I do have a tendency to get a bit carried away, Shaheen. As great as cabbage is, if it isn't cooked properly it can be awful! Thanks for dropping by...

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  19. "...Of Cabbages and kings!" Cabbage is a great addition to a salad for some extra crunch, and, of course, who could ever forget coleslaw? I've actually been past the Chilhowie Inn, although never in it; it's way out in the sticks near Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This post really ranged all over the place, didn't it? I liked how you even worked in the old Anglo-Saxon month names!

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    1. Would you believe I controlled myself Marjie and tried not to "go all over the place?" I get so excited with the things I discover I almost forget that this is a blog, lol...Thanks for taking the time to visit:)

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  20. I need a cabbage leaf on my forehead right now, Louise. I recently have rediscovered, so to speak, cabbage and have used it in a few recipes. I may pick one up at the nearing farmer's market! I can't wait.

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    1. Go for it Debra!!! Let us know what you "whip" up!

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  21. Hi Louise, had no idea all the virtues that cabbage holds, so interesting. Also cannot believe there is a national cabbage day. It's amazing all the info you found, I always learn something new reading your posts. Thank you for all you do! Take care......

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    1. I was surprised too, Cheri! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. It was fun to put together.

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  22. Oh yes, we use a lot of cabbage in Chinese cooking too. Love the Cabbage Patch Kids too! Hahaha! xoxo

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    1. I almost mentioned the Cabbage Patch Kids Shirley. when my daughter was little, I went crazy trying to find her one for Christmas, lol...I did, finally:)

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  23. I love all the cabbage family and eat it often. I like it raw or cooked. I use it in Corned Beef and Cabbage, stir fry, in cole slaw, soup and japanese salad... Good stuff.... I love sauerkraut and the vet told me to give natural sauerkraut to a calf who had digestive problem and was always bloated and wasn't digesting her milk. I started with one teaspoonful at feeding and increased to a handful and she just loved it. Now she doing so well.

    There are live good bacterias in the natural Sauerkraut that helps put back the flora in the intestins after taking antibiotics and this natural Sauerkraut is found in the meat department. It's not the bottled kind, and comes in a plastic resealable bag.
    Enjoy your Sunday.
    Thanks for your visit. I so appreciate it.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Hi Julia,
      Thank you so much for adding this weath of information especially about sauerkraut. There are many people in my neck of the woods who make sauerkraut on a regular basis. Thank goodness too because I have never tried, lol...I'm not surprised the sauerkraut helped with the goat's digestive problems. I am a huge believer in good for you live bacteria!!!

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  24. Oh what a timely post. I would swear by the remnants i my spare 'fridge that man must have subsisted on cabbage (plus root vegetables) for generations in the past. I will be posting a cabbage roll soup soon and if I still need to use up more cabbage maybe I"ll have to try the cabbage face mask ;-)

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    1. I saw that Cabbage Roll Soup of yours Inger. It looks delicious! You are more than welcome to link it to this post. We'd love to see your cabbage face mask too, lol...

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  25. Yummy. I love cabbage. I enjoy stir fry cabbage with onions.

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    1. Stir-freid with onions is one of my favorites too, Lady Lilith:)

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  26. Cabbage is one of my favorites. From red cabbage to corn beef and cabbage. It is all delicious.

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    1. Before we know it, Corned Beef and Cabbage Day will be here Geraldine. Yippee!!

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  27. Love it, ma petite chou! (not sure I can make that feminine)

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  28. Hi Louise, I really enjoyed this post. I love cabbage! I love it raw or I like to add it to vegetable soup. Can't wait to see your post on tortilla.

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    1. Hi Dawn:)
      So glad you liked it. It's a great veggie to "hide" in veggie soup for those who don't like it so much. Thanks for dropping by, Dawn...

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  29. Hi Louise, you are such a great friend, sweet and kind, and I do appreciate your comment on my blog that really cheered me up! Life has been so difficult for me in the last few months...but, life has to go on, and we have to make the best of it. I adore your informative posts that you put so much creative content for each of your posts that are so educational, and so interesting, and the recipes are superb! I love cabbage so many ways, raw and cooked, it doesn't matter. It is so healthy and delicious. Thank you for being so kind, and I do appreciate that you stopped by to comment...even though I've been a NO SHOW..even on my own blog! Have a wonderful week ahead! xoxo

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  30. Hi Louise,

    Happy World Cabbage Day! I can imagine cooking 13 cabbage recipes at one go!!! LOL! I like cabbage but never so crazy with them :p I like cabbage the most when they are totally cooked... They will be so sweet when the thorough cooking releases the sugar in them... The thought makes me drooling now :p

    Zoe

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  31. Oh I love cabbage and especially a Greek dish called Lachanodolmades(cabbage dolmas). What a beautiful post Louise full of information and delicious ideas!

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  32. Who knew there was so much to know about cabbage!!

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  33. hi louise, i hv been eating so much cabbage during this chinese new year. Not just me, i think a lot of chinese here too . You know why, cabbage is so called auspicious for chinese and it sounds like a lot of money..so we eat a lot! LOL! didnt know that cabbage leaves can be used to relieve headaches! thanks for sharing!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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