Cabbage and The Pumpkin Soup Months


Here are a few words and a recipe I wrote back in 2008 – my last real southern winter until 2015…

If only I was five. Someone would clean up after me, I wouldn’t have to pay for a thing, I could be demanding and sulky without people cutting me out of their address books, and if presented with a meal of cabbage, I could throw it on the floor and hope for something else to be offered.

I have managed to avoid cabbage with a fair amount of success in my adult life but since my household became MSEs (mostly seasonal eaters), we have been at the mercy of the seasons and the planting choices of our local organic farmers. Right now we receive bountiful amounts of cabbages in our weekly deliveries.

Cabbage, like responsibility, aging and debt, has a way of creeping up on you. You can do everything to avoid it but eventually you’ll find yourself having to eat it at some point. But what does one even do with cabbage? Certainly not crucify it in a pot of boiling water like our mothers did! We know better than that. But what else is there? Stir-Fried Cabbage? Cabbage Soup? Cabbage-Wrapped Dolmades with a side of Red Cabbage Salad? Whatever way you cook it, it’s still cabbage.

I have to admit that when I sit down faced with a meal consisting mostly of cabbage, I find myself hugely tempted to stamp my feet, refuse to eat it and maybe even force a couple of tears in protest of eating it. But I’m an adult now. We don’t do that kind of thing. We eat our cabbage. We grin and bear it. We find ways of making it palatable and console ourselves by remembering its’ nutrition values.

Although I understand that we should all be grateful for what we have, when all we have is cabbage, it’s slightly more difficult to be ever so thankful for all you are blessed with. “Well… at least I have cabbage,” you might say. And good on you! But when I am reaching my forth day of cabbage-based meals and contemplating dabbling in cabbage desserts, gratitude seems to slip away like a good dream trying to be remembered. Cabbage Crumble anyone?

And of course the real problem with being in a cabbage rut, is that it’s so hard to see the light at the end of the cabbage – I mean, tunnel. The longer you’re stuck with cabbage the harder it is to imagine a life cabbage-free. I remember the days of tomatoes. Man what a luxury they seem now! With their sweet red flesh, sexy little green tufts and super-hero-like versatility. To think I took tomatoes for granted! It makes me feel ashamed of myself to think of it now. I was even picky when choosing tomatoes. “Oh – that one has a wee mark on it. I think I’ll get this uber perfect one over here…” It all seems a long time ago now. Something to dream about on cold, lonely cabbage-filled nights – along with asparagus and strawberries and other, more glamorous plant foods.

And I know I’m not alone in this. We all wake up in the morning sometimes and all we see is cabbage. Oh I know we shouldn’t think of tomatoes as the source of our happiness but when we can’t even remember what a fresh tomato tastes like, it’s hard not to think, “if only I had a tomato, my life would be so much better.” Cabbage is part of life. Being human means you can’t always have fresh tomatoes…in fact, if you did, you may even start to eventually want some cabbage.

For now at least, I will try to be happy with my cabbage abundance. I will focus on all the people stuck with brussell sprouts on their plates as a reminder that it could be worse. I will try to remember that cabbage, as everything in life, comes and goes and soon we’ll be in the glorious comfort of the Pumpkin Soup months.

Cabbage Miso Soup

¼ small cabbage, finely sliced

1 onion, finely sliced

3 Cups good vege stock (not maggi)

1-2 Tbsps miso paste

1 Tbsp tamari

½ tsp sesame oil

spring onion

fresh coriander

Sauté onion and cabbage in a little oil until soft.

Add vege stock, miso paste, tamari and sesame oil. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins. Serve with chopped fresh coriander and finely sliced spring onion. Asian dumplings or udon noodles can be added if being served as a main. Serves 2


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