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September 10, 2007

You Don’t Intimidate Me, You Tasty Cabbage!


The cabbage is perhaps the most intimidating of the vegetables that come in head form. It is as solid and dense as a low-grade bowling ball, and it resists efforts to pull leaves off and consume without putting additional effort into it. This would explain why the iceberg lettuce – odorless, tasteless and utterly devoid of nutritional value – is more popular. If the contest were based merely on taste and nutritional value, the cabbage would win every time (this accounts for why it sometimes engages in the bullying of brussel sprouts).


Because of this denseness, it must be cooked in order to be considered edible. But that need not necessarily mean something long and complex. In fact, it would be simple to make a cabbage-based dish that can stand on its own as a main course, or as a side dish for something else.


We start with a leek.


Most of the leek, which looks like an oversized green onion, is not edible. Most of it consists of long, tough green leaves that will defy all efforts to convert them into food. This is one of those instances where it is best to respect the leek’s wishes, and to seek out its white section.


The first trick is to finely slice the white section of a leek. If you look down, you will see rings, and if you remember your basic tree-ology you might be tempted to believe that you can count the rings to uncover the leek’s age. Sadly, neither this nor examining the teeth of a leek are good ways to accounting for its age.


Toss the leek slices into a skillet with a thick bottom. Sprinkle them with garlic powder.


Now, attend to our friend the cabbage. Chop it into quarters and remove the thick, tough stem.


Now, slice the cabbage also into thin slices. Add these to the frying pan and begin to sauté the cabbage and leek in butter and the garlic powder.


If you were to eat some of the cabbage – and why wouldn’t you? – then you might notice that it is sweet. The leek itself is one of the sweeter members of the onion family (it hails from the part of the family that always remembers to call on birthdays, or visit during hospital stays). Luckily for you, both are sweet in ways that do not compete or overpower each other.


Now, put a pan of water on a burner and heat it until it is boiling. Add the contents of a box of macaroni and a little salt. Cook these for eight to 10 minutes, and then drain while making sure to keep some of the water in reserve.


Mix the noodles into your cabbage and leeks, and stir. Perhaps your mix will be dry. If this is the case, you didn’t cook your cabbage and leeks in enough butter. Give yourself a demerit. If you had the foresight to keep some of your cooking water in reserve, subtract one demerit; and then add enough water to the cabbage and leek until everything is properly lubricated.


Salt, stir, eat. Repeat as necessary.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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