Cooking the World’s Largest Cabbage

For the last year or so I have been opening my mind to new possibilities. Yes, I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which has introduced me to many veggies I have never seen before, let alone cooked. That’s why my family now eats stuff like parsnips and fennel, two veggies we’d never heard of, let alone eaten. They are delicious, by the way. (Well the fennel I still have issues with; I mean it smells like licorice but isn’t candy. Isn’t that false advertising?)
But last week I had a challenge unlike any I’ve ever had. I opened the veggie box and inside was the largest cabbage head I have ever seen. I’m not kidding. I don’t where they grew that cabbage (it’s all local), but that thing was bigger than a human head. It was humongous. And scary. I mean, what was I, a non-cook, supposed to do with the World’s Largest Head of Cabbage?
And then a voice inside my head, a really stupid voice, said, “That’s easy; stuffed cabbage rolls!” And pretty soon all the voices in my head joined in, chanting, “Stuffed cabbage rolls!” (Yeah, I might have issues that go way beyond super big cabbage heads, but let’s not go there now.)
Anyway, after a small argument with my voices, I found a recipe on the Food Network website labeled “easy.” Hello? I’m telling you those people at Food Network are big, fat liars. Clearly, in Food Network land, “easy” means “you should be a 4-star Michelin chef before attempting this recipe.” Or it could mean “sucker.” I could go either way on this, but I am leaning toward “sucker.”
So one hour and five pans on the stove later, I was no closer to making an actual stuffed cabbage roll than I was to being president of the United States. My kitchen looked like it had been bombed by a very large cabbage and was covered in splatters from the meat that I was supposed to use for stuffing.
But at that point I was not letting that cabbage win. It was obviously a contest of wills and I would not break.
By then, I was ready to stuff. I got the cabbage out of the pot and I realized that it looked like slimy space boogers. It was falling apart and oozing over the plate. Yeah. Turns out there is a HUGE difference between “blanching the cabbage” and “boiling the holy crap out of it until it resembles something an alien would pull out of his nose.”
Have I mentioned it was now a personal war between the cabbage and me? Because it was on like Donkey Kong, people.
So I grabbed the cabbage and tried to stuff it. I don’t mind admitting that at one point in the stuffing process I considered taping the rolls together with packing tape. Of course I didn’t do that. I mean, it was already inedible. I didn’t need to add poison to the mix. I managed to slap some cabbage and some meat/rice mixture into a pan, cover it with tomato sauce and bake it. And that’s when I realized that cooked cabbage is not the most appetizing smell on earth. Basically, my house smelled like a dozen teenage boys were suffering the after effects of a chili-eating contest.
And yet, I was not going to pick up fast food. I was not allowing that dang cabbage to beat me. Because I am stubborn. And probably not as smart as I think I am.
At dinner I brought out my stuffed cabbage rolls. And Harry and Junior put it on their plates. And Junior (who eats anything and everything) poked it a bit and asked, “Is it alive?” And Harry looked at and said, “Oh, it looks good.” But the look on his face said, “Good Lord it looks like alien space boogers took over our dinner.”
And we ate it anyway. Because by that point, nobody was leaving the dinner table without doing so. After all, I wasn’t going to allow that cabbage to beat me. No matter what it smelled like.
But the next time I get a cabbage in my CSA box, I’m making cole slaw.

Leave your comments