Like little brains all tucked up in a row, before the sauce and cooking.
All it takes is a mention of a food and my memories take over. For many Americans comfort foods are macaroni and cheese, for many people mashed potatoes are comfort invoking. For me, French toast, pastina with egg, and stuffed cabbage. On the phone with a friend one January day, she mentioned how she was making stuffed cabbage. A memory of the rich taste of this meal overcame me and I resolved to make them too.
Having gathered all of the ingredients, I had my mom with me in the kitchen (on Facetime) and good thing. My distant memory had me browning the meat before stuffing the cabbage leaves. “NO!” She exclaimed, all raw, except the rice. You mean I do not even need to sauté the onions? Again NO, and the rice and the cabbage leaves are best to be cold when you use them too. She knew.
As a child there were three things my mom made for my Dad from his childhood, stuffed cabbage, pierogies, and cabbage and noodles (her version with cottage cheese) When she made pierogies the entire kitchen was covered with flour and had the intoxicating aroma of frying onions. She stuffed them with a mix of fried onions and mashed potatoes or fried onions and cabbage - par boiled and fried in butter. It was such a big production she would make 100 at a time and freeze them. Admittedly I do not see myself making dough and filling my tiny kitchen with the aroma of friend onions for half a day. The cabbage and noodles I will be making and for this moment I am pleased with my efforts on the original project of stuffed cabbage and happy to share them with you.
On 17 February 17, 2014 my Dad left the world as we know it. This post is for him. I am certain he would have enjoyed the stuffed cabbage too, even if I would add more salt in mine next time.
All 4 stages; top left wrapped up and raw; top right smothered in tomato sauce; bottom left cooked; bottom right individual portions to be frozen.